Local/State

New bridge in Ocean City tough on seagulls

Thursday, August 02, 2012

The new $400 million 9th Street Bridge in Ocean City is great for drivers, but tough on seagulls.

It is officially called the Route 52 Causeway and locals call the lower part of it the 9th Street Bridge. It has certainly improved driving into and out of Ocean City, but it has had some unintended consequences for the birds.

"I hear they are not flying so well," said one resident.

"If they can reprogram the birds in some way, I think it would be a good idea," said another.

It is not clear exactly what is happening, but on the north side of the causeway area the seagulls are struggling as they fly near the railing. Bill Hollingsworth of the Humane Society says some are crashing onto the pavement.

"They are trying to fly vertically from the guard rail, and then they are trying to hover over the marsh to the right, and what's happening is the wind is just slamming them right back down into the roadway," he said.

Most regain control, but about one bird a day takes a fatal plunge.

No one knows if the bridge somehow is impacting the air currents, but the worry is a falling bird could hit a passing car triggering an accident.

One possible solution, plastic bird spikes to prevent the birds from landing on that stretch of rail.

"If they can't land there then you don't have the problem of the vertical lift going up," said Hollingsworth.

Hollingsworth and others hope to find a solution as soon as possible before what is now a bird problem becomes a people problem.

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bird strike, ocean city, new jersey, local/state
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