To look at the peaceful beauty of Sunrise Cay, you would never know there was concerted contest between man and beast. Some areas of The Reef struggle with iguanas, some with raccoons, but on Sunrise Cay, the assault seems to be aerial. The ibis to be exact. Fran and Joe Murphy have a beautiful open patio and pool area, which is irresistible to the ibis. Joe says, “Sometimes there will be 30 of them lined up on the colonnade, or when they get thirsty they’ll take a dip in the pool.” To say they create a mess is an understatement. “All of our neighbors have the same problem,” Fran said. “The hand-painted fish tiles we have in the pool also attract pelicans.”
Thus began a multi-year battle of wills. The Murphy’s tried a swooping eagle kite that flapped around a 25-foot pole. It worked for a couple of weeks, then the ibis got used to it. (The eagle also twisted around the pole and broke off several times.) Next, like many of their friends, they strung fish line in the top of the colonnade. “The birds just flew over it or under it,” Fran reported. They added more fish line stretched to the balcony rail. Soon they had a full spider web, but the birds still scooted under it.
Fran went online to search for ibis predators, coming up with ospreys, owls and coyotes. Joe said, “I’ve seen owl decoys at the airport…the birds would come in and sit on their heads.” So they decided to try coyotes. Fran found a coyote decoy on Amazon. “They have models that wag their tails and turn their heads, but all you need is the bargain basement model. We got two and stationed them around the pool.” “It sure did surprise the pool guys the first time,” Joe said with a chuckle, “but when they saw how well the decoys worked, they told all of their other customers.”
The Murphy’s have had their coyotes on duty for a year and a half. They reposition them once or twice a week. “The birds are not catching on,” Joe exalts. “We hope this helps some other people,” Fran said.