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Bird lovers cry foul over Port of Everett’s seagull abatement program

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MUKILTEO, Wash. – Federal wildlife officials have been hanging dead seagulls around the Port of Everett to scare off other seagulls.

The birds’ fecal matter is damaging equipment and causing safety issues for employees at the Mount Baker Terminal, port officials said.

The port has contracted with the USDA to help solve the problem. Wildlife officers are tying up dead birds by their feet and hanging them off the pier.

While the USDA says the tactic is effective at scaring away the gulls, a local Audubon Society says it is inhumane.

Malia Wendling said she was shocked to see the dead birds hanging on the pier.

“If, like, a little kid sees some bird hanging by its feet, that’s kind of messed up,” she said.

The Port of Everett says the gull’s poop causes big problems for their equipment – and can create health and safety issues for workers.

Both the port and wildlife officials said the tactic is effective. A spokesperson for the USDA said the methods have been used for years across the Puget Sound.

But now, bird lovers' feathers have been ruffled. The Pilchuck Audubon Society’s executive director, Kristin Kelly, released a statement to Q13 News condemning the abatement tactics.

“Like other members of the birding community, Pilchuck Audubon Society is shocked and disturbed by the Port of Everett’s strategy of hanging dead birds as an abatement tactic to deter gulls from their facilities,” the statement read in part.

Port officials said it would continue its contract with the USDA.