Falcons set to give seagulls the bird

08:34 06 March 2014

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Ref exe 3936-29-13SH

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Specially trained birds of prey to be deployed in Seaton to scare away the scavengers

Specially trained birds of prey are being deployed to scare away Seaton’s scavenging seagulls.

The ‘novel and humane’ idea will see the resort join forces with Exmouth and Sidmouth in a £15,500 project to hire a falconer for a one-year trial. It is hoped the birds will deter gulls and pigeons and entertain tourists.

The move will coincide with a bid to urge residents and visitors to think about how they dispose of food waste which attracts gulls.

The initiative will be financed through the Parishes Together Fund which makes cash available to councils who team up for community projects.

Seaton Mayor Gaynor Sedgwick stressed that the gulls will not be harmed. She said the aim is to regularly alarm the pest birds and cause them to feel unsettled enough not to breed or feed in the areas they are considered to be a nuisance.

The falconer will be coming to Seaton three times a week and will fly specially bred hybrid birds of prey.

Cllr Sedgwick told The Herald : “Seaton Town Council receive complaints every summer from people who are unhappy with the noise and mess the gulls make.

“We wanted to respond to the complaints we receive and this is a way of encouraging the gulls to feed out at sea and nest in the cliffs, not on buildings. Gulls are beautiful birds, and a protected species, unfortunately the behaviour of humans make them at times a nuisance to live with.

“They are in the towns because we make it easy for them to breed and feed. It is a joint effort though and people should not feed the gulls, and be careful about disposing of rubbish. Deterrents are available to place on roofs and further information can be found in the town council office.

“EDDC have distributed do not feed the seagull posters to most food outlets in the town and Frydays fish and chips have agreed to put stickers on their boxes to remind people not to feed the gulls.”

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