Greek restaurant owner hires ‘bird shoo-ers’ to deal with ibis problem

Owner Theo Kostoglou said he is fed up with ibises ruining customer’s meals at his establishment in Surfers Paradise

When Greek Street Grill owner, Theo Kostoglou approached the local council about the persistent issues he was facing at his establishment with pesky ibises, he was told it was his responsibility. So he has taken matters into his own hands, hiring ‘bird-shooers’ to deal with the issue.

“We alternate it,” Mr Kostoglou said.

“We put staff members on bird duty. They enjoy it,”

Bird duty entails patrolling the area for six hours and using a spray bottle full of water and vinegar to shoo birds away.

“Customers appreciate it,” he said.

“They love it. It does become costly though because we always need an extra person working.”

Mr Kostoglou opened the Greek restaurant in Surfers Paradise along the Esplanade some five years ago. While ibises have been an issue since day one, he says they only used to go for scraps of food but have since become less fearful.

“They jump on tables, and they steal food,” Mr Kostoglou said.

“People come to the restaurant to enjoy the view of the ocean.
“It’s not as if we leave food outside. We take away scraps, but the birds are just too quick.”

Meanwhile the council issued a statement stating that the ibises are protected under State Government legislation, meaning they cannot be removed from the area.

“Importantly, even if we did, ibis fly up to 20 km daily from the hinterland to Surfers Paradise as they know there are food scraps left on dining tables,” the spokesperson said.

“To physically relocate the 20 problem birds would only see them return within a day or so. So it is not a simple matter of relocating nuisance birds.”

The spokesman added that the numbers of ibis on the Gold Coast and Tweed had already been reduced from 12,500 in 1998 to 2500 in 2017, and that there are less than 20 “problem birds” in the Surfers area.

“The number one rule is don’t feed them, and don’t allow patrons to feed them. Council has ensured its public bins have lids and we do our daily bin collections pre-dawn seven days a week,” they said.

“If café owners ensured any food plates were quickly removed from tables as diners departed, we are confident that in a short time, the birds would realise that there are no food scraps available and would move on naturally.
“We feel for the café owners and have attended each café, with the Division Councillor, to explain to them their responsibility.”

Source:Neos Kosmos

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