9 October 2023

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Property Manager Gianni had a very exciting client to meet earlier this month. A slightly more feathered client than usual, Sharpe, is a broad-winged hawk.

Sharpe is employed in the summer months to prevent seagulls from nesting on the roofs of commercial buildings by scaring them away. This is done once a week from about May to September, depending on the species of gull and colony size. Sharpe has never been introduced to hunting birds or raiding nests for food, instead he flys to his falconer for gifts of food and is not a threat to wild birds. His regular presence on the site makes the gulls nervous of nesting and encourages them to nest elsewhere. Gulls, being and intelligent avian species, can recognise the threat that a broad-winged Harris Hawk could pose towards their young. Sharpe is 20 years old and weighs 660g. He flies for around a mile and his handler can easily recall him with a treat. Hawks eyesight is so incredible it would allow them to read a newspaper 3/4 of a mile away, so they are always on the lookout! They also have a tracker on them just in case something goes wrong and they become lost, the tracking system aids the falconer to find and safely recover them. Broad-winged hawks like Sharpe are used for this kind of bird control as they mostly don't go after other birds and won’t attack the adult gulls or their young. This kind of operation works long-term because adult gulls recognize that the hawks are a threat to their nests and won't return the next year to nest. This sort of strategy takes a few years to fully take effect, but it does improves every year. It is much more cost-effective than putting nets on buildings, which costs around £30-40k to cover a full roof of a commercial building. Hawksdrift is a company founded by Layla Bennett in 2006, and it has now become one of the largest bird control specialists in Wales and England. The company is best known for its appearance on Dragon's Den in 2010, receiving an offer from Duncan Bannatyne and helping to transform a hobby into a thriving business. They have many birds at their establishment, including a peregrine falcons and American buzzards. Out of the 21 hawks they have, 16 are currently working. They are worked until they are around 25 years old and then live out their life on Layla's farm in rural Wales. Layla and her team also provide specialist licenced egg and nest removal work, this is a detailed process which includes obtaining the correct documentation for bird control work through Natural Resources Wales, as it is illegal to remove eggs without a license.

More information on Hawksdrift can be found here. 

The service provided has been excellent and the one team approach has worked really well. Graham Davies has been exceptional and provided a first class service supported by John Day and Phil Angell. The service we received from the whole team at C&A has been outstanding and I would recommend C&A without reservation.

Nigel Webb, Newport City Homes