Raptors gets the contract

Talk at Regional District of Nanaimo meeting turns to possible other uses of hawks and other birds of prey

If using raptors such as hawks and other birds of prey works well to keep seagulls away from the Regional District of Nanaimo landfill, maybe it could prove useful in other areas, says Parksville director Marc Lefebvre.

The issue arose at Tuesday’s regular RDN board meeting as directors voted to ratify a decision to award a three-year, $649,500 contract for bird control to PK Bird Control Services at the landfill.

Lefebvre pondered whether the raptors would be able to control the Canada goose problem at Parksville beach.

Dennis Trudeau, the general manager of transportation and solid waste Services said he had never heard of raptors being used in this manner, but he surmised they could be trained to deal with all sorts of different birds.

That idea didn’t fly, but what really had directors squawking was the tab — which comes in at over $200,000 per year.

“Holy smokes, that’s a lot of money,” said Deep Bay-Bowser director Bill Veenhof. “Do we really need to do this?”

When asked if there were not any alternatives to the pricey peregrins and high-priced hawks, chairman Joe Stanhope was blunt.

“There are shotguns, but those are illegal,” he said.

The birds give the best bang for the buck, countered general manager Paul Thorkelson.

“There are also noisemakers, but the birds adapt quickly to them, but they don’t adapt to raptors,” he said.

Despite the misgivings about the price, directors agreed to award the contract.