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Way Downstream …(Oct. 17-23, 2019)

O.C. declares victory over seagulls

        Like some Ocean City beachgoers, gulls there are downright rude. The boldest of them swoop down to snatch chips, fries and whole pieces of pizza.      Laughing gulls deride you.

         But the aggression waned after the city’s decision to hire falcons to restore order. Sea gulls known to bully humans want nothing to do with fearsome birds of prey.

         On Sunday, OCNJDaily reports, gulls made themselves scarce when a female falcon named Blackberry went on duty. They even sounded warning cries to other gulls to keep away from Blackberry.

         Blackberry works for East Coast Falcons, owned by master falconer Eric Swenson, who evolved from handling dogs to zoo animals. The New York-area company trumpets its success in handling nuisance birds wherever they congregate, be it airports, parks or landfills.

         “When we fly our trained falcons, hawks or owls overhead, birds know instinctively that they are being hunted,” East Coast Falcons asserts on its website.

         Did we mention that in addition to Blackberry, Ozzy the owl also worked the Ocean City beaches?

         The town regards the imported hunters as such a success that they plan to bring them back next summer.

         “It was an effective program to get rid of the pesky seagulls and a popular program with residents and visitors, both educational and entertaining,” Ocean City business administrator George Savastano told the online paper.