TTC deterring pigeons with screeching device

by | Feb 12, 2013 | News

By Mr SG (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Mr SG (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

 By Sarah Lennox

The TTC has installed a device at its Bathurst subway station to deter pigeons from entering, Danny Nicholson, TTC’s supervisor of Corporate Communications, told Humber News on Tuesday.

The new device is mounted on a wall and plays both the sounds of birds in distress and the sounds of their predators.

The sounds are played for two minutes every 10 minutes during TTC service hours.

“At some of our subway stations, we do have problems with people feeding the pigeons that come into the station,” said Nicholson. “We installed this device which is designed to try to scare the pigeons away and, so far, it appears to be working.”

The device plays natural sounds collected by the ornithology department at Cornell University in New York. The noise may annoy some TTC users, but it won’t harm them or the birds.

“It’s not a high pitched screech or anything like that and there’s a volume control on it,” said Bob Johnson, a sales representative of Bird-B-Gone. “If you can’t hear it, the birds probably can’t hear it either.”

The company that makes the machine, Bird-B-Gone, sells a number of bird deterrents and works with ornithologists to research birds and prevent them from causing trouble. Johnson said pigeons are a nuisance in many ways.

“Every situation’s different,” he said. “Sometimes, it’s just simple, like an image issue. Other times, they carry a lot of diseases. They’re known to carry over 60 diseases.”

Other anti bird measures taken, as well

The TTC has taken further steps to keep away the birds. The committee installed spikes to keep pigeons from roosting and signs to stop riders from feeding the birds. Liz White, director of Animal Alliance Canada, said the new pigeon-deterring methods are more humane than past attempts.

“They were trapping [pigeons] at one point and I don’t know what they were doing with them after that,” White said. “Years before, people were poisoning them. It seems that they’re trying some different approaches to [mitigate] against concentrations of pigeons in TTC facilities.”

White said she supports the TTC’s tactics and that pigeons should be kept outside the stations for the safety of the animals.

“It’s not really safe for them there,” she said. “They tend to come in and out pretty frequently and pretty easily, but they can be hit by trains and all sorts of different things.”

Nicholson said the TTC has not received any complaints from riders.