If city leaders in Ocean City, New Jersey have their way, the days of pesky seagulls grabbing fries from beachgoers will be over and everyone will have hawks, falcons and owls to thank.

The town, population around 11,000, is a popular summertime destination, but as at many resort areas, seagulls in Ocean City can get annoying. The gulls become “dependent on an unnatural supply of food stolen from people on the boardwalk and beach,” Jay Gillian, the city’s mayor, said in a statement on the city’s website.

Gulls are known for swooping in and grabbing leftovers from trash cans or french fries straight from a person’s bucket.

To try to get the gulls to leave the beach area, Ocean City officials said they’ve hired a company – East Coast Falcons – to bring in falcons, hawks and owls that will scare away the gulls. They’re trying to “move the gulls away from these areas without harming them,” Gillian said in his statement.

Gulls typically leave an area and deem it unsafe at the sight of raptors.

Officials said they believe their abatement program is one of the first for a seashore town along the East Coast. Last year, a shopping mall in California hired a company to bring in a hawk to get rid of pigeons.

The raptors will fly over the beach and boardwalk daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., officials said.

“For the health and safety of both these birds and humans, the city must take action to return them to their natural diet and habitat,” Gillian said.


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