Randy McDonald (rfmcdpei) wrote,

[URBAN NOTE] "TTC keeping pigeons away from Bathurst station with sounds of distressed birds"

Pigeons are some of the most visible animals in urban Toronto's ecosystem. They might be flying rats, and the average pigeon might be less cute than squirrels, but there's still something endearing about their intensity and attractive about their plumage. Are they not just latter-day dinosaurs, and therefore cool? I'm fond of this picture I took in 2011 of a crowd of pigeons enjoying a feedback by a midtown Toronto school on Wychwood Avenue.

Pigeons by the school fence


That said, pigeons have always infested the Bathurst TTC station. It is pleasantly bright, a large modernistic construction of glass and metal that allows pigeons to easily fly in, and out, of the station. (I've seen a couple at track level.) How can you keep them from roosting? Spiked signs help, like the one pictured below.

To keep the pigeons away at Bathurst


As explained by the Toronto Star, recordings of pigeon cries of distress do a better job.

Those screechy, squawky pigeon distress sounds, which TTC riders and staff are hearing with annoying regularity (every 10 minutes, for two minutes), are coming from a device the transit system has bought for a test run and installed on a wall.

The Bird Chase Super Sonic is made by a U.S.-based company called Bird-B-Gone, which sells a slew of products designed to do what its name says.

The Bathurst station pigeons have already got the message, says Brad Ross, TTC communications director.

The dozens of pigeons that used to get into the station and hang around, probably drawn by the smell of the bakery inside the terminal and the tendency of some to share their crumbs, are gone, says Ross. They’ve retreated outside, since the TTC started using the Bird Chase about six weeks ago.

And that’s meant a huge drop in the incidence of pigeon poop, an eyesore and possible hazard to health, not to mention your hat and parka.

In addition, Ross says there are now posted signs asking people not to feed the pigeons and the TTC has installed spikes in areas where pigeons might nest.

The pigeons may not have gone far — Ross says they seem to be hanging around outside on telephone wires — but the distress sounds seem to be keeping them from coming back inside.


Yes, the sounds are irritating.
Tags: bathurst street, birds, bloor street west, environment, subways, the annex, toronto, ttc, urban note
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