Port Townsend merchants to meet today on sea gull abatement plan
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
Richard Probst, manager of the Mount Baker Block Building, secures spikes to structures on the roof to discourage birds.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Downtown merchants and building owners hoping to find ways to control the usual summer onslaught of sea gulls can meet with experts today to hear about bird abatement strategies.

Matt Cleland and Mark Mayberry of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's regional office will present some of the options available to discourage sea gulls at a program from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at The Upstage Restaurant & Bistro, 923 Washington St.

The presentation costs $5 for Port Townsend Main Street Program members and $7 for nonmembers.

It will be followed by an optional walking tour downtown.

The event is sponsored by Main Street's design committee, which is hoping to get procedures in place before May, when the birds lay the bulk of their eggs, said Mari Mullen, executive director.

The white spots of gull feces already are starting to appear on downtown roads and sidewalks, and will get more plentiful with warmer weather, said Richard Probst, manager of the Mount Baker Block Building, on Wednesday.

“The manure on the sidewalks has always been the issue,” Probst said.

“So we put wire along where they are perching and attach spikes on top so they can't perch on the building and go over the side.”

Cleland said a seaside town like Port Townsend can never rid itself entirely of gulls but that the numbers can be decreased, mostly by making it difficult or impossible for them to build their nests.

The degree of effective bird abatement depends on how much time, money and commitment a particular community has to devote to the problem, Cleland said.

One option is an egg-oiling program, where building owners are allowed to cover the eggs with a compound that prevents them from hatching, but this requires a separate permit from the federal Department of Fish and Wildlife, Cleland said.

Cleland said the egg-oiling program that has been in effect for several years in Port Angeles is not being done in Port Townsend and that it will be up to community members to decide if they want to go that route.

For more information, visit the website, phone 360-385-7911 or email director@ptmainstreet.org.

Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 27. 2013 6:16PM
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