Hawkeye News & Bulletins
Dealing With Construction Wildlife
by Peter Kenter | Aug 3, 2011
“If you want to obliterate every scrap of green in a 12-acre bush lot, I’m not going to be your friend,” he said. The animal-control expert has been assisting clients, including developers, construction companies and property managers for more than two decades.His credo — find a point where the land can benefit both humans and wildlife.
Construction-related contracts include educational seminars, stewardship planning, and wildlife control on existing land, buildings under construction and demolition projects.
“Plan a development that includes a naturalized connection between bush lots that is advantageous to wildlife,” he said. “It only takes me a couple of days to follow animal tracks and to take pictures of them at night, so we know which routes they like to travel.”
Frankian has helped to remove a veritable menagerie from construction sites, including deer, foxes, raccoons, rabbits, beavers, skunks, chipmunks, starlings, sparrows, pigeons and coyotes.
“The primary offender on construction sites is raccoons,” he explained.
“The guys will leave their lunches around and raccoons will be there. They’re a problem because they get in the way of construction equipment. There’s also the safety hazard of raccoon poop, with workers slipping on the droppings and disease associated with those droppings.”
Next up are pigeons, who offer more droppings, different diseases and more creative locations for feces, including construction toolboxes.
In most cases, Frankian has a number of options on the table when he receives an animal control call: convince the animal to leave, trap and relocate it, or trap the animal and euthanize it — a last resort.
While most animal-control contractors euthanize beavers because of the difficulty in relocating them, Frankian is one of the few in Ontario, who will make the effort to find them a new home.
“You can’t just trap a beaver and drop it into a lake,” he said.
“You have to help it bridge the gap between ‘that used to be my house’ and ‘this is no longer my house.’ It’s a trade secret, but you can help them re-establish.”
However, when the animal is on Canada’s list of endangered species, neither Frankian nor the building project have a wide range of available options.
The list may include bald eagles, ospreys, horned owls, eagle owls, burrowing owls and barred owls.
“This is the type of animal simply not to be touched,” he said. “I’m dealing now with a commercial/residential development that has a bald eagle nest on the property. If a bald eagle decides to nest on your project, you’re pretty much out of luck. The options are very limited.
“A bald eagle nest is six feet across and six feet high — and they like it. You need to be an animal psychologist. The only option here is to find a way to entice the eagle to leave its nest and go to a specific spot that I think is better for it without harming the bird. It’s a very delicate operation and people from the Ministry of Natural Resources have to be given a full understanding of what you’re doing.”
Frankian has also been called to a hospital project that’s come to a screeching halt because a peregrine falcon is nesting in the middle of the development, and another where a peregrine falcon nested in a downtown Toronto project that had been put on hold due to financing issues.
Frankian noted that construction companies are more and more likely to recognize that they need to stop work when they encounter wildlife.
Frankian noted that in most cases, it’s architects who are responsible for designs that encourage problems with animals.
“I have a client in a commercial building with more than 100 units that hasn’t had a bird problem for 27 years,” he said.
“The client added signage, large three-dimensional numbers for units and a metallic band around the top of the building. Within two months, every starling and sparrow that used to nest in the trees found the letters a better place to nest.”