Monday, July 25, 2011

San Francisco Giants Plan To Use Falcons To Halt Seagull Invasion

The invasion of seagulls swarming down into the stands at AT&T Park during San Francisco Giants games has gotten so bad the team is planning on using falcons to disperse the invading flocks.

The huge Western Gulls begin swooping down right around the seventh inning stretch to grab discarded food and even snag ball park treats from fan's hands.

By the ninth inning, the attacks in the stands sometimes looks like the scene from "The Wizard of Oz" when the flying monkeys dismantle the Tin Man and unstuff the Scarecrow.  To some fans getting pooped on the head is a worse fate.  I don't think seagull look-alike, Tim Lincecum, getting plopped on his cap would consider it good luck either. 

Maybe the birds come late to catch a glimpse of closer Brian Wilson mopping up.  Who knows what's  nesting in his beard.

The nuisance has increased steadily over the past decade since the stadium opened in 2000, but now, the birds have fans literally running for cover.  The giant bird's diet consists of garbage, eggs, other birds, fish and roadkill.  Apparently they eat anything in their paths.

"We've seen an increase in the birds," said Jorge Costa, Giant's operations manager.  "And the behavior seems to be more aggressive.  They've started flying around and trying to go into the stands while the game's in progress.  That's unusual for them."

Experts think the gulls are attracted to AT&T Park from nests on Alcatraz Island and by the activity of the fans.

"They probably see the lights on, or in the afternoon, they probably see the crowd," said Dan Murphy, Golden Gate Audubon volunteer.  "When the crowd starts thinning, they just show up."

To combat the invasion, the Giants are considering hiring a commercial falconer company to ward off the pests.  The cost to the team is estimated to be around $100,000 per year.

In San Francisco--the Ground Zero of politically correctness--  I'm sure the falcons will be used to only scare the invading scavengers.  No dirty birds will be harmed in the process.

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