Hawks, Falcons to chase seagulls away again in Ocean City, NJ
We’ve all been stalked by aggressive seagulls at the Jersey Shore looking to steal our fries, but Ocean City is actually doing something about it. Making a return this year to the OC boardwalk are the raptors of East Coast Falcons in Lodi.
A variety of falcons, hawks, and owls will be used again this year to chase away the annoying gulls without harming them. According to WHYY, four Harris Hawks, five falcons, and one Eurasian eagle-owl will be patrolling the skies of Ocean City, specifically on the beach, at the boardwalk, and at outdoor dining places where seagulls like to congregate.
The service costs $1,935 a day, or about $250,000 for the summer season and in years past, it has proven to be a success. Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian told OCNJ Daily, “These birds have done a great job of making the Boardwalk and beach experience safer and much more pleasant without harming the local gull population.” The birds of prey don’t actually kill the seagulls, they chase them back to the ocean where they belong.
The raptors have become mini-celebrities with people gathering around the handlers to get a closer look or take a picture with one of the majestic birds.
East Coast Falcons specializes in “bird abatement”; their clients include airports and military installations where nuisance birds can cause a lot of problems. They also chase sparrows out of big box stores and geese off golf courses. East Coast Falcons’ owner Eric Swanson told OCNJ Daily, “We’re going to push the seagulls off the whole island. Not that it’s going to be easy, by any means. But we’ll get it done.”
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.