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Hawks used to stop seagulls dive-bombing Eastbourne mourners
Seagulls which have been dive-bombing mourners at Eastbourne Crematorium have been brought under control with the help of birds of prey.
Specially-trained hawks were used to scatter and scare the gulls away without harming them.
Eastbourne Borough Council contacted an environmental services company to help stop mourners being pestered as they left the chapel.
Councillor Margaret Bannister, who is responsible for bereavement services, said: “Staff at the crematorium were becoming aware of the problems the seagulls were causing to people attending services or 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.”
About 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, said: “The crematorium complex has a flat roof which provides an ideal nesting site.
“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.”
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