Brixham Marina Brixham? No problem! A visit to Brixham Marina in Devonwent even smoother than hoped

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Courtesy of Scarecrow Bio-Acoustic Systems Limited

When you go to review how a customer is getting on with their Scarecrow bio-acoustic bird dispersal system, you never quite know what to expect. As an impartial observer, I have occasionally been asked by Scarecrow to visit installations both new and well established, to find out how things are going and report on the results.

As an example, one customer I visited was not finding the system quite as effective as he used to ' a bit of research found that their IT department, who had access to the area where Scarecrow's processor was housed, had thought they might make a few useful alterations to the pre-programmed settings, much to the delight of the local bird population!

Generally, the reports are good, nothing that isn't put right by a brief visit from a commissioning engineer for slight adjustments to a new system. So when I visited Neil Salter, manager of Brixham and Torquay Marinas in South Devon, who has had an installation since 1998, I expected the usual.

Not a bit of it. I walked in with my notebook, expecting to list a few bits and pieces but generally hear that the system was working fine, only to be faced with the fact that Neil had few comments. The system had significantly reduced the problem and there was nothing much to write about.

They used to have a bird problem before the system was installed, but since then ' and remember, we are talking about seven years ago ' very little. There are plenty of gulls in Brixham main harbour, and, predictably, flocks of them around the fishing boats, but very few in the marina anymore. Perhaps I should go and look in the harbour?

Well no. Those areas do not have a Scarecrow bio-acoustic bird dispersal system, to the annoyance of holidaymakers who lose their lunch to scavenging gulls, and so they do not fall within my remit.

I pressed Neil a bit harder. 'Surely, you have had some problems in the past?' He had a think. Well, it appears, yes, there was a problem soon after installation. So successful was the system that the birds moved slightly more seaward; to areas that were just within the marina. So another pair of speakers was installed, and that did the trick.

'Nothing else?'

'Oh yes, and the man who was berthed next to the new speakers found the digital distress calls a bit intrusive on occasion. So we gave him a switch. If he found it a problem he could temporarily isolate his speaker from the system.'

A switch? So that's it. Job done.

Not much to write about, just another happy customer. But on reflection, that's exactly how it usually is with Scarecrow bio-acoustic systems. It may sound a very simple concept to discourage bird activity by reproducing their own distress calls, but there's a lot of science and ornithological know-how behind it. And it works.

Ask Neil Salter at Brixham.

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