'Predatory Bird Call' Recordings Used to Keep Pigeons at Bay in Woodside

By Jeanmarie Evelly on November 27, 2013 9:36am 

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 The squawking bird sounds are being used to scare off pigeons at the 52nd Street subway station.
Pigeon Mitigation System Being Installed at Subway Stations in Queens
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WOODSIDE — Commuters at a subway station in Queens are now being greeted with more than just the sounds of a rumbling train.

The MTA is using recordings of "predatory bird calls," at the 52nd Street station in Woodside, one tactic in a multi-faceted $250,000 effort to keep pigeons from roosting — and pooping — there.

The feature was installed at the station earlier this month, an MTA spokeswoman said and the Sunnyside Post first reported.

The squawking, shrieking and chirping sounds are meant to mimic birds of prey, like a hawk, and are played randomly through small speakers underneath the station.

"I was curious to see what it was," said Robert Paulino, who passes through the station several times a week and said he was amused by the noises. "It sounds like monkeys or something."

The bird calls are part of a state-of-the-art pigeon mitigation system being installed at three 7 Train stations in Woodside and Sunnyside, funded by City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who announced the upgrades in July and vowed to wage a "war on pigeon poop" in his Queens district.

"At least twice a day Sunnysiders and Woodsiders are forced to dodge pigeon poop as if they're dancing through raindrops," Van Bramer said at a press conference this summer. "But of course this isn’t rain drops, it’s pigeon poop."

Several other tactics are being employed at the 46th Street, 52nd Street and 61st Street stations to keep pigeons at bay, including the use of ultrasonic devices that emit noises only the birds can hear, as well as the installation of metal ridges and nylon spikes on the stations' ledges to keep the feathered fiends from landing.

The entire project for all three stations is about 85 percent complete, an MTA spokeswoman said, and will be finished by the end of the month.

The 61st Street station will also be getting the predatory bird call devices soon, the MTA spokeswoman said, adding that the tactic has been used previously at bus depots and other subway stations, including Pelham Bay Park in The Bronx.

They were also installed at the Roosevelt Island station in 2012, according to news reports.

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