‘I dare you to nest here’: Harris hawk released over Lowestoft to scare off aggressive seagulls

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 Harris hawk has taken to the skies over Lowestoft as a menacing weapon against aggressive seagulls that are plaguing the town.

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

The hawk was set loose today to dissuade the gulls from nesting in the rooftops of town centre buildings during their breeding season.

Lowestoft Vision – the town's business improvement district (BID) – has commissioned NBC Environment to provide an intensive period of hawk and falcon flying.

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

The Harris hawk began flying on a visit to the town centre today (Wednesday), and this is due to continue until the end of April, with a falcon also set to fly in Lowestoft.

The timeframe was chosen so that they finish before any seagull eggs have hatched - to ensure none of the existing chicks are harmed.

Seagulls in Lowestoft town centre.
PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Seagulls in Lowestoft town centre. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

With hawk flying seen as the best way of tackling the increasing problems with seagulls in Lowestoft, by encouraging the gulls to nest away from the town centre, Peter Stubbs – working on behalf of bird and pest control specialists NBC Environment in Lowestoft – said: 'We are not here to kill the seagulls.

'There is a large population of gulls here in Lowestoft and this is all about dispersing the seagulls. By walking through the town centre and flying the hawk and falcon in the area on a more regular basis the gulls will get to see the presence of the Harris hawk and believe there is an active population of predators.'

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Mr Stubbs and his seven-year-old Harris hawk are due to be in Lowestoft for about six hours a day four days a week for the next month.

He added: 'A lot of people have been coming up to us and they have been very interested, asking where are the gulls, but we are not here to kill the seagulls.'

Mr Stubbs will be flying his Harris hawk and falcon as part of an ongoing programme to boost Lowestoft town centre's attractiveness to shoppers and visitors.

It comes after the organisation received a number of complaints from shoppers, with reports that food items had been snatched and people felt intimidated by the gulls.

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