Thousands of Seagulls Perch in NJ Neighborhood, Residents Screech

Children carry umbrellas on sunny days so they don't get hit with droppings

By Brian Thompson
|  Wednesday, Jan 4, 2012  |  Updated 7:03 AM EDT
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Thousands of seagulls have taken over the rooftops of a New Jersey townhouse development, infuriating residents and forcing children to carry umbrellas on sunny days to protect against droppings. Brian Thompson reports.

NBC New York

Thousands of seagulls have taken over the rooftops of a New Jersey townhouse development, infuriating residents and forcing children to carry umbrellas on sunny days to protect against droppings. Brian Thompson reports.

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Thousands of seagulls have taken over the rooftops of a New Jersey townhouse development, infuriating residents and forcing children to carry umbrellas on sunny days to protect against droppings.

The seagulls have recently landed atop the Fox Chase townhouse complex in Tinton Falls, N.J., having moved from the nearby Monmouth County landfill.

Mayor Michael Skudera said an experiment using falcons at the landfill might have scared the seagulls to move less than a quarter of a mile away to the townhouse development.

The county suspended the falcon program a few weeks ago, which the mayor says has helped a bit.

"It's getting a little better but it's nowhere near where it should be," Skudera said.

Amy Ross, a homeowner leading the charge to evict the seagulls, fears that even with the falcon threat removed, many of the estimated 7,000 seagulls that feast at the landfill are now used to calling her neighborhood their new home.

She said children wait at the bus stop with umbrellas so that they don't get hit with waste.

Rooftops in Fox Chase are splotched white from the droppings, small animal bones litter backyard patios, feathers are everywhere and children who use the play equipment end up with white residue on their clothes.

State Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Hajna told NBC New York that the county faces no legal liability as long as it is trying to control the bird problem as required for its landfill permit.

"We can't take action (against the county) for large numbers of seagulls," Hajna said.

County spokesman Bill Heine said officials are aware of the problem and are looking for other creative ways to solve it.

Skudera confirmed that Tinton Falls and Monmouth County officials are working together toward a solution.

As for Ross, she'll be happy when it happens.

"It's upsetting that our investments -- our properties -- are going to decrease in value because of it," Ross said.

Follow Brian Thompson on Twitter @brian4NY

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