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Hawk brought in by famous firm to scare off noisy seagulls

PUBLISHED: 11:52 05 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:01 05 August 2019

Falconer Simon Rouse with Ace, the harris hawk scaring birds at Aldiss distibution centre PICTURE: Matthew Farmer

Falconer Simon Rouse with Ace, the harris hawk scaring birds at Aldiss distibution centre PICTURE: Matthew Farmer

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A famous Norfolk retailer brought in a hawk to fly over its distribution centre on Monday, frightening noisy gulls which gave neighbours a headache.

Seagulls attempted to scare the hawk off by dive-bombing him on his perch PICTURE: Matthew FarmerSeagulls attempted to scare the hawk off by dive-bombing him on his perch PICTURE: Matthew Farmer

Residents living near the Aldiss distribution centre in Fakenham had complained about the noise made by seagulls nesting and roosting on the roof. The company brought in a trained falconer from Norfolk Wild Encounters to scare off the loud birds in a humane way.

Simon Rouse of Norfolk Wild Encounters brought his bird Ace, a male harris hawk hatched in June last year, to swoop over the building. He said: "He is an environmentally-friendly visual deterrent for the seagulls. He uses a lot of energy flying, so he's quite happy to sit somewhere and wait."

The hawk was taken around the site several times, often perching on rooftops and shipping containers. The gulls were immediately disturbed by the unfamiliar bird, and took off to avoid it.

"The best time to do this is in March, before the birds lay eggs. Now, they will have young here so they will be a bit defensive, but they can be moved.

Ace the hawk, bottom centre, swoops to falconer Simon Rouse, as seagulls scatter PICTURE: Matthew FarmerAce the hawk, bottom centre, swoops to falconer Simon Rouse, as seagulls scatter PICTURE: Matthew Farmer

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"The gulls are intelligent birds, and go where there is a food source. If there aren't fish to be had on the coast, they will move inland."

After a short while the gulls became more aggressive, and began dive-bombing the hawk to try to scare him off. Ace was unshaken, and will return later in the week along with other birds.

Ace weights only 1.5 pounds or 680 grams when he is kept at a flying weight. Mr Rouse explained: "The term fed-up comes from falconry, because when the birds have had enough to eat, they don't want to fly."

Ruby the red-tailed hawk caught mid-blink. Birds of prey have eyelids moving from the side of their eyes. PICTURE: Matthew FarmerRuby the red-tailed hawk caught mid-blink. Birds of prey have eyelids moving from the side of their eyes. PICTURE: Matthew Farmer

Red-tailed hawk Ruby was fed up when she came out, but got an opportunity to look around the site for when she returned.

Darryl Simpson, managing director of Aldiss, said: "We want to be good neighbours, so we brought him in to get rid of the birds in a humane way after we had a couple of complaints. It felt like the right thing to do, and the birds are great."

Glenda Kirby was one of those who was concerned by the noise, and came to watch the work taking place. She previously said the seagulls "are like screaming witches, day and night", saying the town had become "Fakenham on Sea". However, she was pleased to see what was being done.

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