Their complaints about gulls stealing their chips, pizza and French fries have led to the city paying $2,100 a day through Labor Day for the use of trained raptors—four hawks, two falcons and an owl—to scare the gulls away. But as a New York Times article points out, the raptors are certainly capable of killing gulls. And that would be unconscionable.
These beachgoers are likely the same people who have been feeding gulls along the boardwalk in the first place, assimilating them to human food.
The truth is because of humans and fishing, traditional food sources for gulls are declining, so they’ve had to adapt and go for other food sources. Gulls are smart and will adapt to feeding from a food source as long as it remains available. Like other animals, seagulls will continue to return to food sources.
We don’t disagree with the idea that one of the best ways to put nature back into balance is to have predators. However, calling in falconers isn’t the same as letting nature take its course.
One visitor who has been coming to Ocean City for more than 30 years says she has developed a gull-proof system when she orders anything at the boardwalk: Cover the food, stay close to the stalls and never eat anything out in the open.
Cheers to her modifying her own behavior to live in harmony with wildlife instead of moaning about a bird’s existence; it’s just the type of common-sense solution we advocate for at Friends of Animals.