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RDN calls in birds of prey for seagulls

The Regional District of Nanaimo doesn't want garbage in their landfill going to the birds — and they've once again enlisted the help of other birds to prevent it.

At their regular monthly committee of the whole meeting, directors agreed to award a three-year contract for bird control at the regional landfill to PK Bird Control, which uses birds of prey to scare off or kill the numerous seagulls and crows drawn to the site.

In a report to the district, disposal operation superintendent Helmut Blanken said the landfill attracts large numbers of nuisance birds because of the food waste it includes. These birds, he said, pose a health risk to landfill staff and the public from their droppings. As well, they cause damage to equipment and facilities and are safety hazards for aircraft using the nearby airport.

He noted the use of trained hawks and falcons to discourage the nuisance birds has been used successfully since 1991.

"The predator birds have a far greater impact on the nuisance birds' behaviour than any other means, including mechanical or auditory devices," he said. "The birds adapt quickly to noisemakers and netting and will soon disregard these deterrents in their search for food.

PK Bird Control has been providing bird control services at the site since November of 2010. The contract expired in October of last year.

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