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Hawks scare off seagulls at County Square Shopping Centre in Ashford (courtesy of Kent online)

Pigeons and seagulls living on the roof of County Square shopping centre beware - there’s a hawk called Norman on the prowl.

Bosses at the Ashford centre were so fed up with bird droppings, blocked drain pipes and the squawking of gulls they turned to two Harris Hawks called Norman and Nina.
County Square operations manager Mick Webb said: “It’s been a problem for the last few years and so we thought we’d try it to see if it worked and it’s proving to be very successful.

“The main birds that are affecting us are various breeds of gull and the problem is mess, noise and getting access to the roof.

"When the gulls have got their young they can get very aggressive.”

The pair of four-year-old hawks, which can live for up to 30 years, work for pest control company NBC Bird and Pest Solutions, which is managed in Ashford by Richard Levett.
His team works across the TN postcode area ridding hospitals, schools and homes from unwanted birds.

Pest controller and hawk handler Gary Railton explained: “I specialise in flying birds of prey to scare off mainly feral pigeons and herring gulls. “I’ve been asked to scare off the gulls at County Square because they’ve had about 80 to 100 gulls living up here and we’ve whittled it down to about 10 or 15 now.”

Mr Railton continued: “Their droppings are a problem because there’s a lot of glass that gets soiled and also the roof drains get blocked up with nesting material and rotting carcasses.
"They raid the bins and bring all that back up with them.

“Hopefully they’re breeding somewhere else and this is what it’s about; it’s a natural deterrent.
"They feel uneasy in her presence and their making that association with her and the shopping centre now.
"It doesn’t kill anything it just moves them on naturally.”

Kent online


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