In an effort to keep seagulls at bay, staff at Victoria’s Ogden Point have fashioned a “tree” and installed it on the roof of the warehouse at Pier A, hoping to attract eagles instead.
With a metal frame supporting real branches, the tree stands atop the building, maintained by Western Stevedoring.
General manger John Briant said the solution is two-fold; the hope is that if the area can become an eagle gathering ground, the seagulls will find a new spot to congregate and leave their droppings and the eagles will nest there, rather than atop the masts on which they tend to frequent.
“We have eagles here and they come and nest on top of the high tailor masts, which is not a great place for them to be sitting,” he said. “It’s slippery and there’s high voltage up there.”
The idea – suggested by local biologist Jacques Sirois of Nature Hood Canada – was the result of discussions about how to tackle the problem. In addition to the tree, Western Stevedoring uses “sky dancers,” the inflatable tube-shaped figures that dance in the wind.
“The problem with seagulls is they become very accustomed to movement,” Briant says. “So anything you put in their path, they will soon figure out does not pose a threat.”
The spontaneity of the dancers has been the best solution, he adds.
As for the eagles, they’re known to frequent Ogden Point in the summer, so Briant hopes the amount of seagull excrement will drop before the tourists arrive.