Hawk hired to scare off roof-pecking squatters.(Network Rail)

Hawk hired to scare off roof-pecking squatters

Harris Hawk at Manchester Victoria.(Network Rail Image) 

Network Rail has enlisted the services of a Harris hawk to rid Manchester Victoria station roof of pesky seagulls.

In 2015 as part of the station’s £44m transformation, new ethylene tetrafluoroethylene roof panels were fitted.

Since then seagulls, have taken up residence on the roof and are pecking at it. While the roof is robust enough to carry a car, their pecking has created holes in some panels, causing water to leak on to the platforms below.

Rob Ellams, buildings engineer at Network Rail, said:

Seagulls are a city-wide problem and they’ve chosen Manchester Victoria station’s roof as their new home.

“Unfortunately, they’re pretty awful tenants. They don’t pay rent and their constant pecking is damaging the roof.

“We’re hoping good, in the form of our hawk, triumphs over bad by scaring the gulls off.”

Liam Sumpter, regional director from Northern said:

“Birds of prey are used successfully to deter birds from airport runways and other city centres, so bringing a Harris hawk to Manchester Victoria is a fantastic solution to a very real problem.

“We’ll continue to work with Network Rail to make Manchester Victoria the best possible station for our customers.”

A handler will fly the Harris hawk around the station eight times a month between October and November.

Flying the hawk helps to disrupt the gull’s behaviour and disturb them on a regular basis. They then become unsettled and look elsewhere to roost and nest.The Harris hawk is specially trained to disturb seagulls by flying back and forth over a given area. It will not harm or maim any birds.

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