With a grotesque gulp of cormorants wreaking havoc on his classic boat, our Senior Managing Editor looks for a way to deter them … permanently.
Sweat poured into my eyes and onto the lenses of my sunglasses as I crawled on all fours scrubbing—with reckless abandon—my crap-covered topsides. My finely dressed dockmates, on their way to an early dinner at the yacht club, looked on aghast as I cursed and mumbled under my breath.
Let me explain; despite hanging a number of bird deterrents around my boat, I had to leave my mooring and tie up to the fuel dock for the second time inside of a week to clean my boat from the winged devil’s (cormorant’s) excrement. I promised myself (read: yelled aloud for all to hear) that there would not be a third time; I made my way to West Marine (www.westmarine.com), filled my cart with every bird repellent in the store, and swiped my card. After several trials and a healthy dose of tribulation, here is a breakdown of what I found that worked and what didn’t.
1. Bird B Gone 360 degree Repeller ($50): You’ve likely seen these at one point or another and some people swear by this spinning device, but the cormorants in Essex, Connecticut, aren’t your average street pigeon. In fact to taunt boaters, they like to perch themselves atop these repellers.
2. Decoy Owl ($20): These decoys are so popular they have to work, right? Wrong, at least in Essex. These decoys command no respect in my area and sometimes can be found covered in crap, adding insult to injury.
3. Bird-Deterring Balloon ($9): I was attracted to this device because, well, it seemed like a simple fix. Just blow up the device and hang it on your boat. I was frustrated to see two birds standing on my boat just feet from the balloon. (I swear I heard one say, Nice try kid, before I shooed them away.)
4. Bird B Gone Repelling Spikes ($25): When I started getting serious about the problem, I covered the bird’s favorite perch with the spikes, which earned me my first victory against them. If you notice that birds have a favorite perch on your boat, I would consider using these things. No bird wants to be put on a spit.
5. Flash Tape ($5): Because it was so affordable, I was skeptical about how effective this ribbon would be. I was pleasantly surprised when hanging it strategically (and tastefully) around my boat that the ribbon successfully sent the birds soaring away.
This article originally appeared in the February 2016 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.