‘Hawks may fly again’ says organiser of Lowestoft’s gull frightening scheme

Peter Stubbs with Jess the Harris Hawk in Lowestoft Town centre. The bird of prey is being used to

Peter Stubbs with Jess the Harris Hawk in Lowestoft Town centre. The bird of prey is being used to help reduce the numbers of seagulls in the town. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

A two-month initiative which saw hawks take to the skies over Lowestoft has been hailed a success, and is likely to be repeated next year.

Through April and May, Harris hawks were used in the country's most easterly point to ruffle the feathers of gulls, who had been causing troubles for people in the town by scrapping for food and even tearing morsels from their hands.

Initially only scheduled for a month, the scheme was extended into May, but with the gulls breeding, it has been stopped for the time being.

However, Danny Steel, chairman of Lowestoft Vision, the scheme's organisers, said he was satisfied with how it went and hopes for a repeat performance next year.

He said: 'It is difficult to measure just how successful it has been, but it certainly seems as though there have been fewer gulls in the town for the past few months.

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'With baby gulls now being born, we aren't able to continue flying them, but it's definitely something we would like to do again next year.'

As well as providing frights for their feathered foes in the skies, Mr Steel said the birds of prey had proved a popular addition for the town.

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'They've certainly become a talking point and have received lots of attention,' he added. 'Children in particular have loved seeing them soar over the town so it feels like it has been a really good scheme for the town.

'Most importantly though, while they were flying there were certainly less gulls about, which is a big positive.'

While their gull-chasing days are over for now, the hawks will not have to wing it to the job centre just yet, with a summer of displays and events ahead of them. Mr Steel added: 'We're hoping to bring them to the summer festival in July, along with other birds of prey, before hopefully doing the same again next year.

'In the meantime, the best advice we can give people is not to feed the gulls that are in the town.

'They are fearless birds with no fear of humans, so if people continue to feed them they will continue to try and take food from people's hands when they aren't offering it.

'I would also advise businesses to make sure that their bins are secured and there is no food lying around to encourage the gulls.'

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