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School Solves Avian Vandalism Overnight 20/03/2014

Cressex Community School in High Wycombe had been plagued by delinquent Herring Gulls damaging their large ETFE inflatable roof, over the school's main atrium. The gulls were regularly piercing the seven inflatable pillows that comprise the roof system, causing air leaks and partial deflation or the roof pillows. The repair and replacement costs of the pillows was running into tens of thousands of pounds with no apparent solution for actually stopping the ongoing damage even once repairs were effected.

That's when PestFix were called in for advice and guidance on how to disperse these problematic birds.

After a consultation with the school and the roof's manufacturer Novum Structures, a solution was put forward in January 2014 and accepted by the school's management team. The solution comprised the use of a bio-acoustic bird dispersal system, similar to the one's used at all major UK international airports, backed up by the use of visual deterrents in the form of the Hawk Kite system.

The bio-acoustic system specified was the tried and tested Scarecrow Bio-Acoustic Systems' One Shot (AD023), a solid-state, maintenance-free microprocessor containing up to seven pest bird distress calls. The system broadcasts a 90 second distress call at random intervals via six 20 watt re-entrant horn loudspeakers (AD027) distributed around the roof on 3m tall poles. The speakers are fed via a long-line transformer (AD025) that maintains signal strength over the long distances involved with such a large span roof. The system is designed to play the Herring Gulls' own distress call back to it causing panic and anxiety in the gulls, resulting in their ultimate departure from the roof.

To support & sustain these natural, environmentally friendly sounds two Hawk Kite (VD351) systems were installed. These comprise a life-like self-launching kite in the silhouette of a bird or prey that duck and weave in the wind from a 7m tall carbon fibre mast on the end of a 5m long tether. The Hawk Kites present a credible threat to the gulls that works in tandem with hearing their own distress call, to heighten the threat and resultant reaction of the gulls to flee the area. Herring Gulls will not go beneath the Hawk Kites, which imitate "raptor" birds of prey. Raptors dive down from above onto their prey and latch into their target using their fearsome talons. Hence the gulls' in-built reaction to stay above the threat and in relative safety.

Since the system's installation and commissioning in early February 2014 the schools management team have reported not one seagull sighting on the roof and the roof's manufacturer's Novum Structures have been able to carry out the necessary pillow replacements safe in the knowledge that they will remain undamaged by the pest gulls for a long time to come.

For more information on this article, or the products discussed within, please contact the PestFix team on +44 (0)1903 538 488

 

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