City council to investigate Central Bank’s bird scaring device

‘It was like an Alfred Hitchcock movie,’ says Docklands resident

The use of a bird-scaring device at the Central Bank building in Dublin's docklands, which emits amplified recorded bird calls, is under investigation by Dublin City Council.

Locals said the device had been operating on a 24-hour basis and caused disturbance at night when the noise, which appears to mimic bird distress sounds or the calls of birds of prey, was not dampened by surrounding traffic.

However, the bank said the device was needed to protect equipment on its roof and to protect birds.

Derek Allen, who lives in an apartment opposite the bank, said the noise from the machine had kept him awake at night.


"At first I thought they were real birds. I thought they might be the Canadian geese you get flying through every year. Then I noticed more unusual calls, something like the noise a pelican would make, and very loud screeching like birds in distress. It was like an Alfred Hitchcock movie," he said.

“One night I was awake at 3am listening to it, and I realised I was hearing the same sounds over and over, and it struck me it must be a machine. At first I thought I was going mad, but I’ve spoken to people living in the houses behind the bank and they’ve heard it too.”

Environmental impact

In addition to the noise nuisance, Mr Allen said he was concerned about the environmental impact of the device.

“I wouldn’t mind the noise so much in the day time, if it was attracting birds to the neighbourhood, but it’s deterring them. I’ve noticed a huge decline in small birds in the area.”

Mr Allen said he had contacted the bank in relation to the noise, but had not received a response.

Cllr Mannix Flynn said residents were enduring great stress due to the device. "Every resident is going bananas about it."

Mr Flynn said he had lodged complaints with the council's planning enforcement section. He said he shared Mr Allen's concerns about the impact on wildlife. "It is deterring birds from resting in the whole area."

The council said the use of the device was under investigation by its air quality monitoring and noise control unit.

The bank said the device was installed with the purpose of protecting mechanical and electrical equipment.

“This device also serves to protect birds from related hazards, such as fan blades and other mechanical equipment.”

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times