TTC to use sound cannons to scare seagulls away from rooftop of streetcar storage facility

16 March 2024
TTC to use sound cannons to scare seagulls away from rooftop of streetcar storage facility

The Toronto Transit Commission says it will use sound cannons as one tool to scare away seagulls from the rooftop of one of its streetcar storage and maintenance facilities.

In a statement on its website, the TTC said the sound cannons will be used at Leslie Barns near Leslie Street and Lake Shore Boulevard E. between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. until June. The cannons will be fired up to four times an hour, but if no seagulls are present or netting installed recently keeps the birds at bay, they will be silent.

Feces from the birds is creating a “slip and fall” problem on the ground, TTC spokesperson Stuart said, and can also increase the risk of avian flu transmission. On top of that, the transit agency cannot send out streetcars covered in seagull droppings, meaning the vehicles have had to be cleaned.

“We’ve literally had our employees having to have umbrellas to get to their cars at the nesting times because there are so many of them,” he said.

The TTC estimates 10,000 to 15,000 seagulls visit Leslie Barns yearly, adding the nesting causes “unsanitary and disruptive” working conditions for its employees. The cannons are an effort to encourage the birds to nest elsewhere, it says, noting sound cannons do not fire actual ammunition but do create a loud sound.

“No seagulls will be harmed in this process,” the TTC said in the statement.

The sound cannons are small, pipe-shaped cannons that the TTC can fire off at will. They can emit a sound of about 120 decibels if you are right next to them, Green said.

On a Facebook post on Wednesday, the transit agency said the sound cannons will begin making noise this week.

“In the neighbourhood, the cannons may sound similar to a single firework in the distance,” the TTC said.

“They will be pointed away from the residential area to decrease noise. Within the building, the sound will be more noticeable, similar to the volume of a jackhammer or an oncoming ambulance, but in a short single burst.”

Cannons a backup measure

Green said on Thursday that the sound cannons will be a backup to netting that the transit agency put on the rooftop about a month ago.

So far, the netting seems to be holding up and the seagulls are not happy, he said.

“You’ve got thousands of birds flying around looking for a place to nest. What we’ve heard from experts in this area is that, if you deter them and if you can convince them to move along politely, they will do so. That’s really what our first goal is, make it an unattractive place for them to nest,” Green said.

Green said the seagulls have started arriving at Leslie Barns in the last few days. Leslie Barns, south of Lake Shore Boulevard E., is near Tommy Thompson Park, which calls itself “an important stopover point for migrating birds.”

“For a whole host of reasons, we don’t want them there and this is our attempt to to dissuade them and have them move along somewhere else,” he said.

Other techniques used by the TTC to prevent the birds from nesting on the rooftop include:

  • Covering the roof with plastic sheets. “While this deterred some birds, it also killed the green roof plants,” the TTC said.
  • Ensuring a staff member visits the roof frequently.
  • Activating the green roof sprinklers.

None of the measures reduced the seagull population over the long term, the TTC said in the statement.

The TTC said riders on the 83 Jones bus might hear the cannons when near Leslie Barns.

Source: cbc

Breaking News
Cookies allow us to personalize content and ads, provide social media features, and analyze our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising, and analytics partners.
I accept!