Devon Contract Waste (DCW), a commercial waste management company based in southwest England, has introduced a 19-week-old Harris’s Hawk, named Avro to its waste transfer station in Exeter to scare away seagulls.
The company said that the important new team member’s role allows it to operate the site without interruption by the seagulls, which cause a nuisance and create mess in the local area.
“Seagulls, as scavengers, are unfortunately attracted to the waste we collect,” explained DCW compliance manager, and Avro’s handler, Trevor O'Malley. “Many see seagulls as pests because of the noise and mess they create and the damage they can do to property.”
Harris’s Hawks originate from the southwestern United States and are now bred in captivity in Britain. They have become the most popular hawks for falconry in the Western world, as they are one of the easiest to train and the most social.
Trained Harris’s Hawks have been used to remove an unwanted pigeon population from London’s Trafalgar Square and from the tennis courts at Wimbledon.
“We use Avro to help scare the seagulls away. She is only taken out on site on the glove. She does not attack or harm the seagulls – they simply recognise her as a predator and stay out of harm’s way,” said O'Malley.
DCW currently diverts over 35,000 tonnes of waste from landfill every year, recycling over 60% of this into new products. Due to the nature of the, seagulls are drawn to the site and need to be kept safely away.
19-week-old Avro currently lives with Trevor O’Malley and will be employed full time at DCW once she has settled in.
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