Birds of prey employed to tackle seagulls

July 19, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

A school which was under siege by seagulls who would steal pupils’ lunches has become the first in Britain to be protected – by three BIRDS OF PREY.

More than 90 troublesome gulls had taken up residence on the roofs of Sir John Hunt Community College in Plymouth, Devon.

They had begun swooping on youngsters to pinch sandwiches and crisps and staff had feared for the children’s safety.

But the playground is now safe after officials hired two Harris Hawks and a Falcon to patrol the school.

Jasper, Hope and Monty the Falcon have been working twice-weekly shifts since last month – patrolling the skies during breaks and lunchtimes.

The school is the first in the UK to use the unorthodox pest control method and nearly all the gulls are now gone.

Facilities manager Mel Starr said: “We haven’t had an actual attack but they are very bold.

“They have been swooping on children and of course they also carry diseases, which is not something we want around our pupils.

“Not only is it an efficient way of removing the seagulls, but we can also use it for educational purposes, teaching the pupils about wildlife and the effects of littering.

“We had a problem with some pupils leaving food around and feeding the birds.”

Staff feared the seagulls, which had also been pecking away at roof insulation, could become aggressive if allowed to nest.

They called in experts from Rentokil, who suggested hiring fearsome-looking birds of prey to scare off the seagull menace.

The tame trio have done such a good job they are now set to make monthly returns throughout spring and winter.

Miss Starr added: ”This is working excellently. The pupils have all been really interested and they help fly the hawk from the school building.

“They have to be taken by hand through the school itself to get to the roof where they are launched, so it’s fair to say some people have had a bit of a shock.”

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