USS ALBACORE - "Forerunner of the Future" - AGSS 569 - Pioneering Research Vessel
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The Albacore Pigeon Coop

Ever since Albacore came ashore in 1984, she has been the target for the local pigeon population. Originally, these birds were satisfied with just decorating the exterior of the boat with their droppings. Eventually, some of the more adventurous ones began entering the superstructure through the limber holes that run the length either side of the hull. Soon they began building nests and setting up housekeeping as evidenced by grass sticking out of the limber holes. Several humane attempts were made to encourage the pigeons to relocate, but these proved to be unsuccessful. Eventually, wire screening was put in place to block the birds' entry. The screening was effective for a number of years, but the wily birds eventually figured a way around the screens and began roosting in the superstructure again. It was apparent that something more had to be done to purge the boat of its unwanted tenants.

Jim Wakefield, PPMMA Board of Directors member and the Board's designated maintenance engineer, took on the task of creating a better system for blocking the bird's entry but still allowing for superstructure drainage. Jim designed and built a stronger screen that could be locked in place - one that could not be dislodged by the pigeons. He and fellow Board member Bob Hassold spent a day cleaning out the superstructure and installing the new screens. At the end of the day on October 9th, Jim submitted the following report and photos:

"The USS Albacore which has served as a pigeon coop since her decommissioning in 1972, no longer welcomes our feathered friends. Today, Bob Hassold and I cleaned, screened and preserved all 57 superstructure scupper drains (limber holes). We did experience a small flock of 10 to 12 pigeons circling around with obvious displeasure. Unfortunately, they will have to find alternate accommodations this evening and for the future. The photos below show the results. You cannot actually see the screens unless you are first aware they are there and you specifically look for them. The entire job came out even better than expected and only took five hours. The work could not have been accomplished without the assistance from Bob."

Bravo Zulu, Jim and Bob.

View of the starboard side with clean limber holes

Close-up of new screens locked in place