Irritating nests to be raised with minister

Gary Kircher
Gary Kircher
Aspects of an Act that protects Oamaru’s notorious red-billed gulls are set for discussion when Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher meets Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage this month.

For years the North Otago town’s central business district has been plagued by flocks of birds nesting on rooftops and creating an unwanted disturbance, in the form of noise and excrement, particularly around Countdown Oamaru in Eden St.

The issue has since extended to other flat rooftops in Oamaru, including in lower Thames and Coquet Sts, despite a number of measures being employed by the council and the Department of Conservation to encourage the endangered birds, protected under the Wildlife Act, to move on.

With the start of the breeding season in September rapidly approaching, Mr Kircher said he would raise the subject with Ms Sage at an Otago Mayoral Forum in Wellington on July 31.

"It’s definitely time to talk with her further about this issue.

"There is a part of the Wildlife Act which talks about exemptions around some of the protections, particularly where there has been significant damage to property. We have certainly experienced that by Countdown and various other buildings that have basically been taken over and that’s creating a lot of damage and health issues with the build-up of nest materials and bird poo."

He said that exemption allowed wildlife to be "put down", but did not think that was needed in Oamaru.

Instead, he wanted to see the birds moved on for good.

"Really, it’s about being able to keep moving nest material so they just stop nesting . . . and go somewhere where they are not being a nuisance."

Under the Act, once a nest is formed it cannot be moved.

Department of Conservation Coast Otago operations manager Annie Wallace said the department was working alongside the council and businesses on proactive measures to reduce red-billed gull nesting and roosting, such as regular roof inspections and keeping the roof surface and gutters free of debris, which had resulted in a drop in bird numbers.

She said several factors determined how many birds nested in a certain area.

"Factors that can influence a rise or fall in number of birds attracted to a breeding site are security, the level of disturbance and whether there is a good source of food for their chicks nearby."

Last season, Countdown estimated five red-billed chicks fledged from its roof, compared to about 150 the year before.

daniel.birchfield@odt.co.nz

Comments

Firstly adjunct to this ODT article is the "Stuff" (another MSM outlet) article on the same issue. Here we see a photo of Mayor Gary Kircher harrassing endangered wildlife. The ODT article is not as insensitive but the point is the same.
It would be laughable if it weren't indicative of the mindset behind it: the Homocentric worldview driving the self-immolating paradigm of "progress" as maintained by the Inner Sanctum and other such monotheistic boys clubs.
The Human species has SO catastrophically overstepped it's ecological niche, causing this mass-extinction event Gaia is now enduring. In this light the rights and needs of our fellow species such as Red-Billed Gulls far outway that of ours.
I'm sure the Gulls are somewhat more "irritated" at being pushed to endangered status by human "progress". As a gull I too would be saving my poops for humans and if I could tell them apart for Mayor Kircher for presenting such deplorable insensitivity to the world. Indeed said image is being circulated on new media as damage control: we aren't all like this, we're waiting for them to awaken or dissolve under the weight of guano.

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