A HAWK caused gulls to scatter in terror as the impressive raptor swooped down to clear the rooftops of the nesting pests. 

The bird of prey could be seen perching on buildings in The Shambles outside M&S in Worcester on Thursday as the screeching gulls flew about in obvious dismay.

At first, the gulls scattered but also tried to mob the raptor which held its ground and seemed 'annoyed' by their attempts to attack it.

Worcester News: PRESENCE: The Harris's Hawk has been used to control the gull population in Worcester city centrePRESENCE: The Harris's Hawk has been used to control the gull population in Worcester city centre (Image: Worcester City Council)

A Harris's hawk has been used by Worcester City Council to scare away nesting gulls recently and we have approached them for a comment and for an update on how the scheme is working.

One shopper, who was greeted by the spectacular sight, said: "I didn't mind at all. It was a beautiful bird. It didn't kill any. It just looked annoyed with the noise they were making. They really didn't like it around. 

"Maybe two or three (birds of prey) would have made a bigger impact as there were a few gulls that swooped towards it but it stood its ground."

READ MORE: Hawk used on Worcester High Street to control gull population

We also reported last month how a bird of prey scattered seagulls when it was released in Worcester High Street.

Dozens of seagulls were chased away by a hawk in Worcester in a bid to reduce the number of gulls in the city.

The hawks help discourage gulls from nesting when they migrate to the UK for the spring and summer months.

Onlookers could hear and see the gulls trying to make a quick getaway as the hawk chased them away on Wednesday, April 26.

This has been organised by Worcester City Council for the past two years to try and keep the gull numbers down.

In the past drones, replacing birds’ eggs with life-like dummies, gull-proof bins and gull-proof waste sacks for businesses have been among the methods attempted to control the gull numbers.

The move comes after Worcester City Council's environment committee enquired if a cull could be a possibility, but received legal advice that it would be a non-starter as some of the gulls are protected specials, and some are endangered.

The council previously announced the Harris's hawk will appear around the city from the end of February until May to discourage the birds from nesting when they migrate to the UK for the spring and summer months.

The operation will take place in residential areas around the Tything; much of the city centre; the former Royal Worcester estate and an industrial site in Lower Wick.

The programme will be carried out by an experienced hawk flyer who will, when possible, deploy the hawk from accessible rooftops to establish a presence of the hawk where the gulls would usually nest.

The technique was used over the summer months in 2021 and proved to be successful as residents and business owners reported less disturbance from the activity of gulls.

Worcestershire Regulatory Services and Worcester City Council are also experimenting with whether an increased human presence at rooftop height will deter the gulls from nesting.

Other places also use birds of prey to control other birds. Rufus the Hawk is used at Wimbledon by the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club to keep pigeons away from their venue.

He has also been employed to scare pigeons away from Westminster Abbey, various hospitals, airfields, and landfill sites.

A spokesperson for Worcester City Council said: “The current programme of hawking is designed to encourage gulls to nest away from sensitive locations in the city, thus reducing the overnight and early morning noise, and minimising aggressive behaviour by the gulls, such as food snatching.

“Hawking takes place three times a week running from late February to May to cover the early part of the gull nesting season. It covers most of the city centre and other key areas including The Tything, Waterside, Britannia Square and an industrial site outside the city centre which is close to housing.  The hawks are trained not to attack the gulls but to deter them by their mere presence.”