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Last Updated: Friday, 23 February 2007, 12:25 GMT
Hawk to put seagulls off nesting
Harris hawk, Nick
It is hoped that Nick will take the gulls 'out of their comfort zone'
A Harris hawk is being used to tackle an increasing problem in Bath of noisy and messy seagulls.

The bird-of-prey will be flown over the city's rooftops twice a week in the run-up to the breeding season to discourage gulls from nesting.

It is one of four measures being introduced by the council to cut down their population.

Councillor Vic Pritchard said the hawk, called Nick, would take the seagulls "out of their comfort zone".

"They have no natural predators, so by introducing the hawk, we're introducing a natural element to put up some resistance to the continual breeding," he said.

Incessant noise

Another method is to play an artificial seagull distress call, which further unsettles the birds and puts them off nesting.

Also, artificial eggs will be put in their nests, which the gulls will sit on, but which will not hatch.

The council says it prevents incessant noise from hungry chicks and means the adults are less active, noisy and aggressive because they have no young to protect.

A similar success has already been achieved in the past by covering real eggs with mineral oil which blocks the pores of the shell and stops the embryo from developing.

The seagull colony in Bath is made up of two types of gull.

About a third are indigenous Herring Gulls and two thirds are migratory Lesser Black Backed Gulls which arrive from warmer climates each April to breed, and leave in October.


SEE ALSO
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