Busker Simon Busmann reacts to the sonic noise
Busker Simon Busmann reacts to the sonic noise

Can you hear it? High-pitch buzz driving shoppers cuckoo

WHILE the sound of Simon Busmann busking rang out through the Bargara Central Shopping Centre yesterday, there was another noise in the background that some shoppers would have paid to have stopped.

Since Thursday last week, a ultrasonic bird deterrent unit has been ringing out to deter swallows at the popular centre.

Only some shoppers could pick up the high frequency sound.

The unit was meant to drive away the troublesome swallows, which have been known to make a mess on shop fronts and cafe tables, and even swoop people walking through the centre.

Mr Busmann was among those who could hear the noise.


A high frequency device to scare off birds.
One of the deterrents at Bargara Central that emit a high-pitched noise. Mike Knott BUN160718THEBIRDS3

"I wasn't sure what it was at first, it was a chirping and high-pitched thing," Mr Busmann said.

Manager of Nextra Bargara in the centre Andrea Berthelsen said the sound doesn't bother everyone.

"It doesn't affect everyone. I can hear it and it makes it a long day with it buzzing in your ear," Ms Berthelsen said.

"Stockwell's have arranged for it to be turned off as they suspect it's either faulty or picking up interference,"

"It does however keep the birds away."


SHOPPING HEAVEN: A bird's-eye view of Bargara Central. Photo Contributed
BIRD'S-EYE VIEW: Bargara Central installed the ultrasonic deterrent system to discourage birds that had been making a mess. Contributed

Jay Nicholson, a trolley collector at the centre felt the noise was better than having the birds around.

"Everyone complains, but it's not that bad," Mr Nicholson said.

"It is annoying but it's mainly to stop the birds from pooping everywhere. What other option is there?"

The centre's operations manager Ken Clark said the birds were an ongoing issue, and had not been deterred by the installation of spikes on the high points of the centre, prompting the installation of the current unit.

Mr Clark said the unit has been used in several other shopping centres with the same settings, but has not experienced this side-effect before.

"This unit has been installed at other centres and there has been no complaints," he said.

Mr Clark wants to investigate the issue with suppliers to determine whether the unit is faulty, and said shoppers won't be hearing the noise after last night, when the unit was switched off.

"We'll be investigating next week, and the unit will be turned off tonight," Mr Clark said.

Hair Dinkum Salon and Warehouse owner Tracey Gable said the noise sounds like a "loud clock ticking", but the noise is better than the alternative.

"It's better than cleaning up bird poo," Ms Gable said.

General manager of property management and leasing for Stockwell, Dan Cuda said the unit was installed under the incorrect setting.