The seagulls have returned to Tinton Falls, however, the borough is saying that the problem is not as severe as the situation with the birds last year.
Tinton Falls Council President Gary Baldwin, a resident of Seabook Village where many of the birds have been spotted, said he recently met with county and local officials and was told the problem is more of a seasonal issue.
"We were assured that there has been no change in the program at the landfill and that their bird expert has added to the number of falcons being flown this summer at the site," Councilman Baldwin said on the Tinton Falls web site. "Their program has almost totally forced the seagulls from their feeding habitat at the County Landfill to other locations where a food source exists."
The Monmouth County Reclamation Center purchased falcons last year to solve their own seagull issue and to drive the birds away from the landfill. The falcons prevent the seagulls from landing there, but this also forces them to go to other areas.
Falcon/bird expert Andrew Barnes explained during the meeting that the "re-occurrence of the seagulls over the past three weeks is a seasonal issue driven by their migratory patterns," according to Councilman Baldwin.
"When a long-term feeding place (such as the county landfill) is closed to their access, by whatever means the birds will pause, as their instinctive habit has been, to attempt to feed as they have always done in the past," Councilman Baldwin said. "When flying falcons at the landfill or other preventive measures prohibit the seagulls' entry to the former feeding ground they will in time chose to fly on and seek new food source locations."
"It was also interesting to learn that when the ocean, as a food source, is temporarily interrupted by weather extremes the birds that normally feed at that source will look for alternative food destinations," Baldwin continued. "Over the long haul, it is reasonable to assume that seagull generations which have been using the County Landfill for a feeding source will eventually die off or re-orient their feeding habits and the County Landfill will no longer be an attract alternative. During the interim, we can expect to see the return of the seagulls from time to time, albeit diminished."
He also said the birds are protected by federal laws and that property owners should not use any extreme measures to keep the away.
"Mr. Barnes recommended the use of inexpensive monofilament line installed along the peaks of the roof as a method that has been effective," Councilman Baldwin said. "We were told that the Outlet Mall, at the south end of the Borough, has had good success with the use of monofilament line installed along the peaks of their rooftops."
Councilman Baldwin said the management team at Seabrook Village is also investigating the use of similar techniques to deter the seagulls.
He said the county is spending over $300,000 annually to keep the birds away from the borough
"(Freeholder Director of Public Works & Engineering John) Tobia commented that the County has made a long-term commitment to continuing their declination program and will additionally look for other ways to assist neighboring communities where seagulls might appear," Councilman Baldwin said.