How Falcons Improved Jersey Shore Tourism

At their best, birds can transform an outdoor space into something transcendent – nothing like the sound of birdsong to make a yard or park feel even more alive. Sometimes, however, bird behavior can make a big difference – there is, after all, a reason the phrase “pigeon mitigation” pops up in various public works projects. (It would also make an amazing metal band name, in my opinion.)

It’s a situation no different than that faced by local government in the coastal town of Ocean City, New Jersey. As a new article in the New York Times Review details, the location of the city attracted many people intrigued by the beaches. However, where abundant people live, that also means that a literal flock of seagulls have also descended on the place.

If you’ve ever tried to eat a meal or snack while an injured gull tries to peck at it, you know the drama that can cause. That’s what led the mayor of Ocean City to seek an unexpected solution: a company that brought hawks to the boardwalk, where the gulls suddenly seemed much less interested in congregating.

As the article points out, there is a long history of hawks and hawks being used for both hunting and other purposes. (Memoirs of Helen Macdonald H is for Hawk is highly recommended.) And if there is a way to hunt seagulls during tourist season without chemicals or other possibly toxic methods, so much the better.

Admittedly, it also looks like an actual version of the The Simpsons episode in which a series of different species were used to dispatch other species. This story seems to have a happier ending, however, in that no mammals froze to death in the process.

About Bobby F. Lopez

Check Also

California, tribal leaders announce new tourism initiative

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — In a state with the second-most federally recognized Indigenous tribes in …