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Eyes like hawks are watching students

By West Briton  |  Posted: June 28, 2012

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EYES like hawks are watching over students at Helston Community College – and not just vigilant teachers.

This time, those gimlet eyes really do belong to hawks which have been brought in to help solve the problem of scavenging seagulls.

And so far, said Lois Horne, the college's head of administration, they seem to have been successful.

"We have an issue with seagulls because in the summer particularly children are eating their snacks and lunches and the birds can be a nuisance."

She knew of no incidents in which birds had grabbed food off the children but added the gulls also caused problems for caretaking staff working on the college's flat roofs and scattered the contents of bins around.

As gulls were protected, the college tried a different approach and contacted falconer Richy Hicks.

He brought two hawks – Tweaky and Harry – and the results have been what the school hoped for.

"Normally we have 80 eggs (in nests) but this year we are down to three or four," said Mrs Horne.

It was a question of persuasion, rather than nature in the raw, she added: "We are persuading the gulls it is no longer a sensible place for them to be and to go off somewhere else."

Mr Hicks and his hawks are at the college two or three hours a week and students have shown great interest.

"I am sure we will do it again next year," added Mrs Horne, who believed only one other Cornish school may have adopted the same plan.

Falmouth School had also expressed an interest on hearing of the success at Helston.

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