As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday 24 April 2016

Birds of prey used to deter "nuisance" seagulls from Weymouth Harbour

Birds of prey used to deter "nuisance" seagulls from Weymouth Harbour

Birds of prey used to deter "nuisance" seagulls from Weymouth Harbour

18 Apr 2016 / Meghan Hindley, Trainee Reporter / @DorsetEchoMeg

BIRDS of prey are helping deter seagulls from hassling members of the public in and around Weymouth Harbour.

The borough council, along with NBC Bird and Pest Solutions, hosted a birds of prey display outside the Weymouth Harbour office on Custom House Quay at the weekend to showcase how the birds can be used to deter seagulls from the area.

The idea is the birds will deter gulls so that visitors can enjoy the ‘sitting out culture’ on the harbour and enjoy a meal or drinks without being interrupted.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s harbourmaster, Keith Howorth, said: "As a harbour we are working together to try to deter the seagulls from the area.

"We are also pushing forward with the message that people shouldn't feed the seagulls.

"This is the first time we have shown the public what we do but we have been working with the company for the past 18 months."

For an hour the birds of prey - Harris Hawks - were flown around the harbour with residents eagerly looking on. Within minutes the hoards of gulls had dispersed and couldn't be seen.

Darren Bishop, regional surveyor and business development manager at NBC Bird and Pest Solutions, said: "As a company we have more than 300 working birds of prey. We train them up from an birth.

"The reason we use Harris Hawks is because they are not a native bird to this country so they are a bigger threat to the seagulls.

"The only thing Harris Hawks are afraid of is dogs. We are doing this more and more of this now. We've been doing this in Plymouth town centre and we've just started one in Bath."

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