Mourners at a crematorium in Eastbourne no longer have to worry about the flock of seagulls that have pestering them for weeks, thanks to them being brought under control by hawks. These are no ordinary hawks however, as they have been trained to scare the gulls and scatter them, without causing them any harm.
The Environmental services company was contacted by Eastbourne Borough Council after continued complaints of seagulls dive bombing mourners as they left the crematorium chapel. Councillor Margaret Bannisters is the portfolio holder for bereavement services, and she said that crematorium staff were becoming increasingly aware of the problems the seagulls were causing to those attending services or even just visiting the grounds.
It was felt that we had to call in bird control experts as the last thing crematorium visitors want is to have to worry about being attacked by seagulls. “The hawk solution has proved very effective, with the benefit that it does not harm the gulls. We believe that by calling in professional experts we have helped to alleviate the problem.”
Around eight breeding pairs of seagulls had made their home at the crematorium. The birds usually nest between March and September and get particularly aggressive during this period. Paul Bates, Managing Director of Cleankill Environmental Services, explained: “The crematorium complex has a flat roof which provides an ideal nesting site. We decided it would be best to try to reduce the population over a period of time and start a programme of removing nests and the eggs.
“Alongside this work, we bring in our hawks once a week early on a Thursday morning before the funerals start. The hawks fly at the seagulls and scatter them which makes them uncomfortable. Eventually they decide to find another nesting site.”
Cleankill is a specialist provider of bird control services to retail, commercial and industrial properties throughout the UK. The company deals with ‘distress’ pests such as wasps and fleas, as well as offering preventative maintenance against public health pests such as mice and rats. Cleankill can also clear and proof buildings against pest birds.