KEEPING BIRDS AWAY FROM YOUR BOAT
Silver gulls have been an aerial scourge for my fishing boat as long as I have had it. What began as a mild annoyance when they used various parts of my boat as their personal toilet, quickly bred into mild hatred once they started stealing bait and burley. I got sick and tired of having to clean my boat off before every use. It was time to wage war on my aerial nemeses.
CLEAN IT UP
Not only are bird droppings annoying, if you leave them on the boat too long, they can damage the finish. They also carry E-coli and overexposure to them can cause Psittacosis. They pose a serious health risk. When cleaning up bird mess, be sure to wear gloves and a mask to stop infection.
INSTALL ITEMS THAT MOVE IN THE WIND
I began my crusade against the winged pests by installing moveable items on the highest points on my boat. I used a bird spike, but there are “bird spiders”, scare balloons, or flash tapes which also do the trick. I even had a mate who just tied CDs to various parts of his boat. Birds are visual creatures and rely on their field of vision to spot predators. A moving object will put them off sitting on your boat for too long.
OR YOU CAN FIGHT DIRTY
If this doesn’t work, running some monofilament line above the masts and spreaders should stop birds from landing on your mast. They won’t land on the line itself as it isn’t stable enough, and it should block them from easily getting to the mast itself.
Moving items stop birds sitting on your boat and making a mess, but don’t stop them swooping in and stealing bait and opportunistically feeding on burley. For this, I needed something even more fearsome. I needed a predatory bird. Rather than becoming an accomplished bird of prey handler, I invested in a mock bird of prey. My one was a falcon which came with a telescopic mast. I could send it up and it kept them at bay.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO RUN THE FASTEST, JUST FASTER THAN THE GUY NEXT TO YOU
While I was doing battle with the plague of beaks, my mate offered some words of wisdom which had worked for him. Like a slightly drunk Mr Miyagi he expressed his advice in the perfect metaphor. If you are running from a T-rex, you don’t have to be faster than the T-rex, just faster than the guy next to you. “Just park your boat next to a guy with a bigger mast. They’ll all sit on that”.
Sound advice. But it wasn’t exactly the warfare I had in mind.
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