1. Forget about enforcing covered dumpster rules and gulls come back.
2. Birds of prey don’t help the situation
On Wednesday, the Pacific Grove City Council will discuss bringing back the program to control gulls. With an additional $30,000 in city funding, the proposal will aim to kickstart the effort once again.
“It is prudent to get back on the program,” said Ben Harvey, the Pacific Grove city manager. “You have to do this year in and year out, otherwise the birds just come back.”
Harvey was hesitant to label the gulls as a problem, “We are a coastal community and this is their habitat,” he said. The real problem, he said, is that they skew away from natural behavior. “They are no longer hunting for food, but they are scavenging for garbage.”
Mark Brodeur, with the city, says the gulls are all but gone. Brodeur, the city’s community and economic development director, came up with the idea to bring the falconer in after seeing the tactic work in San Antonio, where he was working. He says there is a noticeable difference now in downtown, where seagulls had become a nuisance
Brodeur said there are still three spots in town where the seagulls are frequently being seen. He said all of the three spots are homes to open dumpsters. Brodeur said they have asked the businesses with the dumpsters to close them and expects this will solve the problem.
Never did see the hawks out flying. I think having bird expert walking the streets with a falcon distracted people from noticing all the gull poop. After all, the real problem remains unchecked.
A sense of urgency to get seagulls to fly the coop. In recent years, they’ve become a nuisance and health hazard to the people who live, work and visit the area.
“The poop everywhere doesn’t make the town look very attractive to shoppers,” local business owner Janneke Rowland-Wolken said.
“You don’t want to be nasty towards the seagulls, they are part of our small little town here. But you do want to treat the problem and I think it’s a nice and environmentally friendly way,” Rowland-Wolken said.
Monday was orientation day for the birds. Once they get comfortable with the environment, they’ll be out flying around Thursday or Friday of this week. But that’s not the end of Mardin’s work. She’ll probably be back this summer when tourism picks up and more people are dining outside when gulls are there for the free food.
Still got some human modifications to do there, like empty the cans more often.
“Those cans are working to perfection,” said Moe Ammar, president of the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce. One can is on the corner across from his office at Central and Forest avenues. Ammar said he hasn’t seen a gull diving into it.
Residents and employees in the area also notice fewer gull contributions to their windshields and tops of their vehicles, he said.
It’s not a complete solution, Ammar said. There are still private dumpsters where hungry gulls forage, and, “We still have people who think it’s cute to feed the sea gulls.”
The custom-lid cans, so far, have been placed on Central Avenue near the city entrance, along the Recreation Trail, and by the library, museum and post office.
But do the New York company’s solutions used by the Navy School work on Western Gulls?
The Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey seems to have found a way to keep ever-present, garbage-munching gulls from landing and nesting on its rooftops.
And neighboring Pacific Grove is taking notice.
The type of system NPS uses was one of the topics of discussion last week at a gull summit in Pacific Grove, as plans move forward for cleaning up the mess left by large Western gulls and trying to find solutions to reduce the numbers of roosting birds — especially on the flat roofs they love.
Seagull Control Systems LLC, a New York company, specializes in rooftop grid systems with wire or monofilament line — like fishing line — that owner Barry Fast says is foolproof in preventing gulls from landing.
By the way – Pacific Grove Juice N’ Java has returned to it’s old ways – picture taken August 10: