A shotgun would scare a seagull

By Andy Bellairs


So the MCC are turning to carnivorous eagles to fix their ever-increasing problem with seagulls.  It is about time they did something, but surely there are other options.

The boys at the Rich Avon cricket club had the solution years ago – and it didn’t include wearing chain-mail gloves and feeding raw red meat to a bird of prey. The cricket club invested in a scare-gun.

In the depths of north-western Victoria, it is so dry that cricket in summer is more likely to be played on a dirt outfield than anything resembling grass. Green grass is so valuable to clubs that they will do anything to protect it – until it burns away under the sun of the first 40-degree day of the season.

It is in this environment that the Rich Avon cricket club found itself. A cricket ground in the middle of nowhere is probably the best way to describe the club – 25 k’s from the town of Donald, which in turn is 270 k’s from Melbourne.

A social club for the district’s farmers, who sweated it out in whites on a Saturday as respite from a week of 18 hour days on headers, Rich Avon was a little green oasis in the middle of paddocks filled with golden wheat and barley (a good year) or brown dirt and straggling weeds (a not so good year).

And this brings us to the nemesis of the cricket club struggling with a harsh climate – corellas. At times, the numbers of corellas on the Rich Avon infield could rival the seagulls on the ‘G during a Sunday twilight match between Adelaide and Melbourne (and outnumber the fans…), and would eat up the grass at alarming rates.

So the boys turned to a scare-gun. It wasn’t a revolutionary decision – these devices are pretty commonly used on farms around the place, but it was effective, and if you didn’t know it was on, could be bloody scary!

When training started to finish up in the twilight of a Wednesday, or when a day’s play concluded at 6:30 on a Saturday evening, it was time to turn on the gun.

One of the boys would wander over to the opposite side of the ground to the clubrooms where the gun was set up for maximum effect, turn on the gas bottle tap, switch on the gun and walk away as quickly as he could. Before too long,


The silence of half-dark in the middle of the bush is shattered by the sound of a shot-gun. The squawk of corellas as they take off in flight follows and finally, all is quiet again. Until,


A shot-gun firing again, exactly a minute after the first, and the corellas start to get the idea that this isn’t going to end soon.

It also isn’t going to end for the boys in the club room who, over their red and green cans have gotten used to the scare-gun, but still get caught out from time to time.

Would the residents of leafy East Melbourne and Jolimont get used to the sound of a shot-gun going off on the minute, every minute? Probably not, but it would more than likely solve the problem of the seagulls.

Lets just hope a couple of eagles are as effective as a scare-gun was to the little Rich Avon cricket club in the middle of nowhere.


  1. Pamela Sherpa says:

    Sounds like a practical solution that has worked Andy.

  2. What’s the back story? Is the MCG Trust seriously contemplating or planning to use trained Wedge-tails or Falcons to control the Silver Gulls there?
    (I’m currently organising a Silver Gull control program on the Derwent Estuary and it’s tough work!!!!!! They are smart, persisent and opportunistic birds! Scare guns dont wok on breeding colonies – the birds get used to them)

  3. I reckon a big fish and chip picnic on Old Scotch’s old oval outside the Tennis Centre.

  4. Apart from the visual effect on the TV images, is there a problem with the gulls?

    If not, why can’t they all be spayed green?

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