Ocean City deploys raptors over beach, boardwalk to scare away ‘very aggressive’ seagulls

Red-tailed hawk (BigStock)

Red-tailed hawk (BigStock)

Ocean City is taking the fight against what Mayor Jay Gillian calls “very aggressive” seagulls to the next level.

Beginning Saturday, falcons, hawks, and owls will fly over the city’s beach and boardwalk from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily to “move the gulls away from these areas without harming them,” according to a release from Gillian posted on the municipal website.

Gillian said the city has contracted East Coast Falcons to deploy the birds of prey. In July, the mayor said the city had received “many more” complaints about seagulls taking food from people on the boardwalk and beach.

“These birds have become very aggressive and pose a public safety hazard. Some people think it’s funny to feed the gulls and see them swarm. For the health and safety of both animals and humans, this must stop,” he said.

With the raptors flying overhead, Gillian said the seagulls will “know instinctively to leave an unsafe place.”

“Professional falconry-based bird abatement is a humane, effective solution for removing nuisance birds. The contractor is licensed to conduct the work, and the effort is approved by the Humane Society of Ocean City, which oversees animal control for the town,” he added.

The city said the sight of birds of prey will be unique for the beach town.

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