pigeon patrolUlster Rugby chiefs are using one of nature’s top predators to get rid of pigeons threatening the pitch at their Kingspan Stadium.

Shadow, a 12-year-old harris hawk, is “scaring” off the flying pests to stop them eating grass seed laid to improve the ground as well as nesting in the rafters and making a mess.

The bird of prey has been flying around the Ravenhill facility for several days letting local pigeons this is not the spot to settle down.

Neil Brittain, communications manager at Ulster Rugby, said the hawk is a “pretty effective” way of keeping the pigeons at bay.

He added: “It flies about and scares the pigeons basically. It doesn’t kill them or eat them it just lets them know it’s about and that seems to be enough to stop them nesting in the rafters. As well as the obvious mess if they were nesting in the stadium, there’s grass seed that’s just been laid for the pitch to be in great condition in time for the season.

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“As you can imagine, the pigeons are loving all this grass seed, so we had to do something to warn them off so they don’t eat it all. It’s completely humane.”

The female hawk is owned by Stephen Devlin, whose firm Gull Clear, keep pigeons out of public buildings including shopping centres and schools.

He says Shadow just chases the pigeons away.

He added: “You fly the bird around the place once or twice a week and the pigeons think there’s a bird of prey feeding in here, or nesting in here so they’re not too keen on coming back.”

Harris hawks are known for their intelligence meaning they are easier to train and therefore popular for use in falconry.


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