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SEATON: Seaton gulls beware... there’s a falcon in town

Thursday, 13 March 2014

SEATON’s pro-active approach to dealing with the problem of seagulls got off to a fluttering start on Friday, writes PHILIP?EVANS.
Seaton Town Council has been at the forefront of dealing in a humane and acceptable method of lessening the nuisance of the gulls scavenging for food on the seafront in the summer months, frightening pedestrians – especially those eating take away food – and nesting on town centre properties.
The town has joined forces with Sidmouth and Exmouth to employ the services of a falconer three days a week for a trial period until July.
The cost is being financed through Parishes Together funding.
Seagulls are clearly distressed by the presence of a falcon and disappear when one of the birds of prey are present – as clearly demonstrated when two of them arrived on Seaton seafront.
The Mayor of Seaton, Councillor Gaynor Sedgwick, who has played a prominent role in trying to find a solution to the seagull problem in East Devon, greeted professional falconer Jonathon Marshall, from Southleigh, and even agreed to pose with one of the falcons on her arm.
Also present were town clerk Chris Drake and Councillor Peter Burrows, Tony Woodman and Ken Beer.
Councillor Sedgwick said the initiative was another example of Seaton having a council that was determined to get to grips with problems in the town.
Mr Marshall brought two falcons to the photo shoot – a seven-year-old Peregrine called Morgan and a three-year-old hybrid called Pearl.
In all he has 40 falcons, 12 of which he uses for working assignments such as keeping the gull population under control. He also provides his birds for filming assignments.
Mr Marshall said the use of falcon to frighten away gulls had been successful in other areas and he hoped the East Devon trial would be extended to cover the busy month of August.
East Devon District Council’s Parish Together Fund was set up to solve local issues. Each parish is able to apply for the equivalent of £1.10 for every person living in the parish.

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