Hawk patrol puts Preston pigeons in their place

One of the hawks on patrol. Picture from Lancashire County Council
One of the hawks on patrol. Picture from Lancashire County Council

Visitors to Preston bus station have been warned not to be alarmed if the council’s new pest control officers come swooping down from above.

In a bid to tackle persistent problems with pesky pigeons, county hall has turned to a trio of Harris Hawks to keep them in check.

The birds of prey; named Oslo, Henry and Holly, will be on shift rotation at the station tasked with scaring off the mass of feathered foes.

The move has been prompted by years of the pests making their way into buildings and causing a mess with their droppings.

And they made a swoop for new territory when glass panels were replaced along one side of the Grade II listed building earlier this year, part of the multi-million pound redevelopment project.

Andrew Barrow, the county council’s project manager for the redevelopment, said: “The hawk has been flying in the concourse to scare off the pigeons. We’ve already carried out one successful session and we’ve got other sessions planned.

“We know that it’s an unusual sight if you’re not expecting it.

“You might see the hawk flying around, under the watch of its falconer, but it shouldn’t cause any problems for people using the bus station.

“The pigeons are a nuisance and we need to get them out of the bus station.

“This is a widely-used method of dealing with this sort of issue and is used at other large buildings, airports and famously even at Wimbledon.”

The hawks, who will be accompanied by experts from SMJ Falconry, will visit at different times of day so the pigeons do not become accustomed to a regular timetable.

The £23m revamp of the station includes a new paved courtyard and public space along with the addition of a city Youth Zone at the north end.