BATH (AP) – Students won’t be the only ones making noise at Dike-Newell School when they return on Tuesday.

A device installed on the school’s roof will be emitting a loud noise similar to a screeching bird in an effort to keep unwanted gulls from roosting on the roof of the school gym.

School officials installed the device because the gulls – hundreds of them – had been splattering cars, teachers and students with bird droppings. The birds had become a health hazard as well as a nuisance.

“It was pretty disgusting,” said Michael Lafortune, Bath’s schools superintendent and a former principal at Dike-Newell School.

School officials believe the elementary school had become a rest stop of sorts for gulls traveling between the city landfill and a seafood processing plant on the Kennebec River. To resolve the problem, the school department settled on a device known as Bird-X Peller Pro 1 from Chagnon Enterprises in Manistique, Mich.

Steve Hamlin, the school’s custodian, said the device emits a high-pitched screeching sound – which he compared to an eagle – about every five minutes. It can’t be heard inside the school.

Besides causing the birds to fly away, the contraption has also resulted in a lot fewer birds landing on the school roof in the first place, he said.

“Before they put it on the roof it was peppered (with droppings) and the gulls were getting the cars pretty good,” he said.

Hamlin turned the apparatus off during the summer months and will keep it off on weekends for the neighbors’ sake. A couple of neighbors have complained about being disturbed.

Connie Cummings wasn’t one of them.

“It really doesn’t bother me,” Cummings said. “But when it first came on the whole neighborhood said what in the Dickens is that noise. It sounds like squawking, like an awfully loud sounding blue jay to me.”

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