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Morro Bay City Council determines seagulls a public health issue for condo complex

Posted at 5:30 AM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 12:31:45-05

Seagulls can be a nuisance in everyday life, but at one condominium complex in Morro Bay, they’re more than that; the gulls are a threat to public health. The Morro Bay city council voted, once again, to allow residents at Bayshore Village to ultimately remove them.

“If they ingest it, it can cause significantly antibiotic-resistant disease,” said John Headding, mayor of Morro Bay.

When humans and nature come into contact, sometimes the outcome is less than favorable.

“The excrement, when it dries, becomes airborne and can be inhaled or through touch contamination, enter into the system of a human, and that can cause salmonella,” said Headding.

Because the seagull excrement has been an ongoing issue for the residents at Bayshore Village – in the pool, on the rooftops and tabletops – the city council passed an ordinance for the 3rd time allowing the homeowner’s association to take measures to prevent the gulls’ habitual return.

The technique doesn’t require lethal force against the gulls; it’s more of a deterrent for the future.

“We do not hurt the birds. We do not kill the birds,” said Janet Gould, president of the Bayshore Village HOA. “We’ve tried multiple things over the past decade-plus to try and mitigate the problems, and what we found works best is what we call addling the seagull eggs.”

To addle the eggs, they’re taken from the nest, dipped in 100% corn oil, and then returned to the nest. The process prevents the eggs from hatching, with the hope the gulls find the area to be uninhabitable in the future.

Headding knows the issue firsthand; he and his wife lived in the Bayshore Village condos for four years.

“It’s been going on for 10 years. It was much worse before. It still continues to be a problem, but the mitigations have worked and have been very successful in reducing the nuisance,” said Headding.

The gulls also find their way onto skylights, so the residents created a device to impede the gulls from walking on the glass.

“It’s a wire ‘X’ across the skylights that prevent the birds from landing on top of them,” said Gould. “You would be shocked at how noisy it sounds inside your house when birds are walking across the skylights.”

Since the 1st passing of the resolution to remove the gulls a decade ago, it’s night and day for Gould.

“(It’s) so much more livable. Yes, there is an issue now, but it’s nothing like the issue that existed before we had the permission and were able to addle the seagull eggs,” said Gould.

The HOA says they tried to have a falconer scare the seagulls, but with the influx of bird species in the area, they say it’s not a viable option.