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South West waste management firm DCW employs hawk to see off seagulls

Devon based commercial waste management company DCW has introduced its newest and youngest member of staff – a 19-week-old Harris’s Hawk, named Avro. Based at the South West firm’s waste transfer station in Exeter, the hawk is employed to do one job – scare away seagulls.

An important member of the team, Avro’s role means the company can continue to dispose of their waste responsibly and quickly without interruption by the seagulls, which cause a nuisance and create mess in the local area.

DCW compliance manager, and Avro’s handler, Trevor O’Malley said: “Seagulls, as scavengers, are unfortunately attracted to the waste we collect. Many see seagulls as pests because of the noise and mess they create and the damage they can do to property.

“We use Avro to help scare the seagulls away. She is only taken out on site on the glove. She does not attack or harm the seagulls – they simply recognise her as a predator and stay out of harm’s way.”

Harris’s Hawks originate from the southwestern United States and are now bred in captivity in Britain. They have become the most popular hawks for falconry in the Western world, as they are one of the easiest to train and the most social. Trained Harris’s Hawks have been used to remove an unwanted pigeon population from London’s Trafalgar Square and from the tennis courts at Wimbledon.

DCW currently diverts over 35,000 tonnes of waste from landfill every year, recycling over 60% of this into new products. Due to the nature of the, seagulls are drawn to the site and need to be kept safely away.

19-week-old Avro currently lives with Trevor O’Malley and will be employed full time at DCW once she has settled in.

For more information about DCW’s Zero to Landfill service, visit or call 01392 537126.

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