The Saskatchewan Rough-Ravens: unwanted guests at Mosaic Stadium

Mosaic Stadium, for most of the year is home to the Roughriders, but for the past couple months it has been the sanctuary for numerous ravens. – Photo by Kyle Griffin.

In Baltimore, seeing Ravens in a football stadium is nothing unusual. Every home team player’s purple jersey is branded with a big black Raven on the front. Here in Regina, the birds are not on jerseys, but roosting in the rafters. While the Ravens are celebrated and cherished in Baltimore, they were nothing more than unwanted guests in the home of the green-and-white, Mosaic Stadium.


From Jan. 22 until Feb. 2, noise cannon blasted from the bellows of Mosaic Stadium between the evening hours of five and eight. The intention? Drive out the avian residents and prevent them from coming back to nest. Dubbed as a “scare program”, Digital Media & Corporate Communications Manager for Evraz Place, Shalyn Kivela explains, “it (the noise cannons) interrupts the raven’s activities, it scares them. Now Mosaic Stadium doesn’t seem like an attractive place to live anymore.”


This isn’t a new problem for management and officials at Evraz Place and Mosaic Stadium. Prior to the construction of Mosaic Stadium, the ravens attempted winter residency in Taylor Field. “During the colder winter months, it’s not uncommon for them (ravens) to come to larger cities and search for tall buildings that are still away from people or other predators. Tall buildings give off heat, and that’s what they’re attracted to” Kivela informs.


Ravens nesting within the stadium isn’t necessarily a health and safety issue. “It really is a situation that if they were to stick around and have the permanent nests at the stadium all winter long, it would cause a significant clean up job come spring” says Kivela. A mess that is already evident when walking by the entrance on Elphinstone St., gazing up to see the large black letters that spell ‘Mosaic Stadium’ covered in large bird droppings and littered with black feathers.


During the daytime, the PA system in the stadium played the soundtrack of a dense jungle, a strange sensation to hear when standing in -35 C conditions. The calls of large tropical birds and predators, used to trick the ravens, is another method implemented that doesn’t require physical force as the birds are a protected species under the Wildlife Act.


Nearby residents have taken note of the loud booms coming from Mosaic. A frozen jogger outside of her house on Victoria Ave., Kaytlyn Criddle, originally thought it was the sound of fireworks or gunshots. “But once we found out what it was, it hasn’t really impacted our lives in anyway,” continuing on the only downside she could think of, “some friends a few blocks away have younger kids and I think it’s going off around bedtime, which has been keeping them up.”


Another Victoria Ave. resident a few doors down expressed his surprise on the issue, “I didn’t see that coming at all, but I read something that said that they had left the area 100 years ago along with the bison, and now they’re back, so they’re common to the area. I didn’t know that!” further expressing that the noise was “not a big deal at all.”




For the most part, residents close to the stadium have been understanding and compliant with few complaints reaching Kivela’s office. “We’ve had some residents call in, a couple wondering what the purpose was. So just educating them on the reason we don’t want them in the stadium. And then of course we’ve had a few people call in to complain about the sound levels, and again it was about educating them on the importance of it,” says Kivela. Working to not disturb the daily life of the people around the area while still accomplishing the goal of being rid of the ominous birds, “we took some steps to lower the level of the loudness of them (cannons) in response to the feedback we got”.


After the two-week period, the scare program has proven to be a success as the Ravens have left the stadium for quieter pastures. Whether the ravens will come back in the coming weeks is another matter. Kivela is confident, “given the experience that our bird specialist has (certified Bird Control Specialist, Richard Swallow) with implementing the scare program with other organizations throughout the years, he doesn’t expect that they will come back.”


Management at Mosaic Stadium will continue to monitor to see if the ravens return, “if they do in fact come back, then we’ll reevaluate. Maybe we do the same program for another two weeks or maybe we try something different,” Kivela reassures.


As for the question of if the ravens will return next year to live rent-free in the stadium, “it’s really hard to tell because they are wild animals so, it’s almost impossible to predict exactly what they’re going to do” Kivela answers. Speaking for Mosaic Stadium and Evraz Place, undoubtedly, they do not wish to see the return of the ravens when the weather turns cold next season. The same can’t be said for the Roughriders and their wishes for a contending spot at the 106th Grey Cup in Edmonton come next November. Only time will tell on both counts.



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