They keep your lunch safe from cunning seagulls.
It wouldn’t be Granville Island without the iconic seagull cry.
Unfortunately, these birds are a bit of a nuisance to humans. Gulls in the popular destination are used to people’s food and have become a rather pesky problem.
This is where the Raptors come in.
The Vancouver Island-based group educates the public about birds of prey and provides wildlife management services. Over the years, raptors have proven to be effective and efficient in dealing with problem bird populations.
They are not meant to chase birds away, just to scare them away.
“If I hang out with her on the glove, near the people having lunch, they’ll usually give them their distance. But we also fly here sometimes. So having a hawk on the roof is going to push these gulls even further,” says Sean Baynton. from the program.
One of the avian sentries on Granville Island is Avah, a Harris’ hawk from the southwestern United States. This particular species is perfectly suited for this task.
“They’re social in nature, so they’re generally quite social with people. They form strong bonds and they’re very cooperative,” Baynton says.
The group works seasonally, but the summer months are the busiest, when crowds of visitors enjoy their food outside. That’s when the opportunistic gulls try to steal a snack.
Signage outside the public market also discourages people from feeding the birds.
It is not uncommon for Raptors representatives to attract a crowd of curious people. Baynton says it’s all part of their job.
“Usually they’re surprised we’re not here to put on a show or some kind of fancy ‘fly through hoops’ demonstration.
So the next time you see a magnificent bird of prey patrolling Granville Island, remember that it has important work to do.