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Corona del Mar Today: Seagulls swarm CdM High

February 04, 2012|By Amy Senk
  • Seagulls converge on the lunch patio at Corona del Mar High.
Seagulls converge on the lunch patio at Corona del Mar… (Amy Senk, Daily…)

Corona del Mar High School students walk through campus with books over their heads these days — trying to avoid being targeted by swarms of seagulls that have invaded the campus over the past few months.

"I got pooped on yesterday," one student said Wednesday as she scurried across the quad between finals, shielding herself from dozens of birds flying overhead.

The birds have long been a nuisance on campus, particularly around lunch, when they scramble for food scraps. But since October, the birds have become so pervasive and aggressive that school officials are working on finding a solution, Principal Tim Bryan told members of the PTA at a meeting Wednesday morning.

"They used to sort of sit up on the top of buildings and wait," Bryan said. "The birds were getting aggressive and flying through the quad. It's become a real problem. It's a serious concern for me."

This week, he said, a bird flew alongside a teacher who was carrying a tray of food, hovering menacingly as she walked.

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"Now it's actually a safety issue," he said.

The birds have not injured anyone, but they have created a mess. Students are regularly hit by bird droppings, and feathers litter the campus along with bird droppings on the pavement. Custodians can't wash the droppings because the water drains to the bay, so they've had to wash each mess with a rigged device of a stick with a tennis ball on the end, doused in a cleaning solution.

"We were really grateful for the rain," he said.

The birds apparently are nesting in the roof of the school's gymnasium. The warmer weather has resulted in migration pattern changes, Bryan said, which is why there are more birds on campus than usual, all fighting for the same amount of food scraps.

School officials considered hiring a falconer to try to reduce the problem, but the expense and other concerns made that unfeasible, Bryan said. Currently, he said he and district officials are researching other remedies, including a sonic system that could frighten away the birds.

"At first it was sort of amusing," he said. "But we really do not want the birds hanging out."

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Junior Guards to launch online system

For the first time ever, the Newport Beach Junior Lifeguards program will require families to register online before swim tryouts this year, officials said.

"We go live on Feb. 6," said Mike Halphide, junior lifeguard and training captain for the Newport Beach Fire Department.

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