Giants explore ways to keep pesky seagulls away


Giants explore ways to keep pesky seagulls away

July 29, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- For years, the San Francisco Giants' regular seagulls cooperated so nicely: They flocked to AT&T Park after the final out to scavenge for treats like leftover popcorn, pizza or garlic fries.Those gulls have become more pesky and plentiful of late, creating a problem for fans during games on occasion this season. So, now, the Giants are considering bringing in a resident falcon to help fend off the birds and keep them at bay out where they belong - above the bay."The gulls are more like your guests. They see a food source and opportunity. They're transient. There's a window of time they're around: they see it, they hear it, they smell it," said Jorge Costa, the Giants' longtime senior vice president of ballpark operations. "Most of the time they're up on the roof of the building, on the glove (in left field), on the light towers. When people leave, they come down."While the issue won't be solved by the time the defending World Series champions return for a 10-game homestand starting Monday, the Giants are working on it.Bringing in a falcon to nest around the ballpark is an expensive endeavor that requires budgeting, which might take until next year. Unless the problem persists and requires immediate attention.Costa declined to say how much it might cost. Other ballparks near the water have faced similar situations with seagulls. They even turn up across San Francisco Bay at the Oakland Coliseum after the Athletics play.This is right up there with the strangest things Costa has dealt with and studied in his 23 years with the Giants and 40 years in the stadium business - along with such serious issues as terrorist threats in the wake of Sept. 11 and the effects of weather and how grass grows and reacts.While the Giants have found humane ways to keep pigeons from roosting in their 12-year-old ballpark, the hovering gulls that come in from McCovey Cove and elsewhere are different. Their postgame snacking has long played a part in aiding San Francisco's extensive cleanup process in the stands after each game.But the 2011 crop appears to be growing impatient. And fans who pay lots of money for tickets and concessions don't like to be bugged by the unfriendly visitors in the middle of a ballgame.Studying bird behavior and various populations has become a new part of Costa's job description."This year we're seeing larger numbers of the seagulls, and sometimes they've not been stationary," Costa said. "There have been a couple of games this year when they've started swirling around while the game's still going on. It's not pleasant if they're dropping things and they're sitting there (with fans)."With the help of Wingmaster Falconry Inc., which states that it works "to provide our clients with the most effective, natural, humane methods available for pest bird abatement," the Giants are exploring their options regarding the falcons.If all goes as planned, the gulls get to the point where they can sense when the falcons are in the area and stay away.Birds of prey have often been part of the big league scene.The Minnesota Twins' Target Field attracted a male American Kestrel last year. He became a fan favorite and even generated a Twitter account with the username TargetFieldHawk and was named Kirby the Kestrel.In other baseball bird news, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said Thursday it was sending a thank-you note to Giants outfielder Cody Ross "for being a fine friend to the feathered."A press release from PETA - subject line: "Goose Abuse Makes Major League Champ Cody Ross Gag" - said that when Ross "learned that foie gras is made by shoving tubes down the throats of ducks and geese, often causing serious injuries, and force-feeding the birds until their livers become painfully engorged, he immediately decided to change ducks' luck and dump foie gras."

Durant falling in love with Bay Area doesn't mean he hates OKC

Durant falling in love with Bay Area doesn't mean he hates OKC

OAKLAND – Kevin Durant will not come out and say it with any real conviction. He won’t. He can’t. Not without being judged without jury.

He’s falling in love with the Bay Area.

Durant, having signed with the Warriors in July, is enthralled with the place one former local football head coach once described as “God’s Country.” He has spent recent weeks settling in and getting out and finds himself swept up in the charms of Oakland and San Francisco and other cities and towns – and the people within – that constitute one of the world’s unique locations.

What was speculated upon Durant’s July 4 decision to sign with the Warriors is being confirmed with each passing day. Though he is here to play basketball in a style he likes, with teammates he has bonded with, he also wants to dive into the Bay Area’s endless cultural smorgasbord.

This does not in any way indicate Durant suddenly hates Oklahoma City or the Thunder or the residents of the state due north of Texas. He called the place home for the better part of a decade. He opened businesses there. He donated his time and money. He gave to the area and the area loved him for it.

But the man clearly craved new experiences and sought new challenges, as well as a dramatically different vantage point. The window through which he views life is bigger in the Bay Area than it ever could have been in Oklahoma City.

Durant won’t say it. But the evidence continues to reveal itself.

He’s riding public transportation. He’s going to record stores – yes, record stores. He’s walking the streets and taking in the sights. He’s going to concerts and, for crying out loud, rubbing shoulders with the folks who shop the clearance rack as well as those who can afford tickets to see the Warriors.

“It was fun,” Durant said of his semi-organized tour last week. “Nike did a great job of coordinating everything. I just tried to get out and touch the people a little bit and let ‘em know I’m here.”

From BART with the people to Sunday night and the risky undertaking of joining the mosh pit beneath the floating stage on which Kanye West performed at Oracle Arena.

A four-time scoring champ and former MVP . . . in a mosh pit with about 3,000 people crammed on the arena floor.

“I used to take the train to school every day, to high school, so I’ve had that experience before,” Durant said of his BART excursion. “But the Kanye thing, that was different. It was fun, man. That whole experience was something I’ve never felt before. I was happy I was able to get the chance to go.

“It was nuts. It was nuts. Just seeing all the videos throughout the summer and never having a chance to get to a show . . . so I’m glad it came through here. I was telling all my friends the whole summer I wanted to get into a mosh pit. It was amazing.”

Could you imagine Kobe Bryant in a mosh pit? Tim Duncan? Michael Jordan? Durant didn’t care. This was something he wanted to do, and could do. He felt it. So he did it.

Judge him at your own risk.

This is Durant spreading his wings in a way he never could in Oklahoma City simply because he has entered an appreciably broader cultural zone. If he didn’t outgrow OKC – he doesn’t dare say that – he surely welcomes the vast societal and intellectual diversity of his new home.

Durant already was somewhat familiar with the area. His first NBA agent, Aaron Goodwin, is an Oakland resident. When Durant came to town with his previous teams, he would, if time permitted, visit ballparks and restaurants and other various attractions.

This is now his home. He said as much on Monday. And he obviously enjoys the new digs and all its trappings.

Durant loved what he had, and now he loves what he has. When someone moves out of one home and into another, larger home, does that have to mean he didn’t like the old place?

49ers players get week break, while coaches search for answers

49ers players get week break, while coaches search for answers

SANTA CLARA -- In the early afternoon Monday after the 49ers’ day-after-game meetings concluded, the players were excused for the next seven days.

Coach Chip Kelly opted to give the 49ers a week break, rather than going through a couple days of practices before providing the players with a mandatory four consecutive days off during the bye week.

The 49ers on Sunday dropped to 1-6 on the season with a 34-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But there will be no extra practices to attempt to sharpen their performance.

“They’ve been at it since July 31st,” Kelly said. “They haven’t had more than one day off in a row. So I think at this point in time that’s what our whole MO has always been.

“They’ll meet with our strength and conditioning coaches. They have their lifting programs in terms of what they can do and what they have to do. And I think at this point in time we need to heal up. I think it’s a good break for them to do what they need to do and that’s the way I’ve always done it and our teams have been fresh coming out of the bye week.”

While the players will be off for a week, Kelly said the coaching staff will continue to work through Friday in an attempt to identify areas in which they can improve and snap out of their six-game losing streak on Nov. 6 against the New Orleans Saints at Levi’s Stadium.

“We’ve got a lot of self-scout that we have set aside,” Kelly said. “We’ll be in here all week kind of looking at what we’ve done in the first seven games, what have our opponents done to us in the first seven games relative to what we thought going into the game based on the break downs. Did they change?

“If they were 60-percent pressure going into our game and they were only 30-percent pressure in our game, trying to delve into how people are defending us. How are people attacking us from an offensive standpoint in terms of attacking our defense and what their tendencies were going into the game and then what actually transpired in the game. So we’ve got a lot of film work and a lot of studying to do here during this week.”

Kelly reiterated on Monday that he is not looking at leaving the 49ers after this season. He said he has not heard from any schools with coaching openings or potential openings. Kelly said he has tried to remain focused on his job through the longest losing streak he has ever experienced as a coach.

“No one’s happy, so I don’t know if the word’s anguish, but I mean obviously you try to keep it consistent in terms of your approach to everything that you do,” Kelly said. “I don’t think being consistent and being even-keeled means that it doesn’t bother you or that you’re not frustrated in terms of what’s gone on.”

Kelly said the 49ers have the talent to win games. When asked why the coaches have not been able to extract more victories, Kelly placed the blame for the team’s poor play on himself and his staff.

“That’s on us,” Kelly said. “I agree 100-percent in terms of what you’re saying. But our job is to put our players in position to make plays and we’re not doing a good enough job of that right now.”