Eyes in the skies: Birds of prey help scare away Ocean City’s aggressive gulls

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The resort town of Ocean City found a way to deal with aggressive seagulls that were dive-bombing unsuspecting tourists this summer on the famous boardwalk and snatching their food. 

It hired raptors from East Coast Falcons to take care of the problem - and in a few days, the results are astonishing visitors.

The seagulls watch over the boardwalk, waiting for the perfect opportunity to grab a quick meal, but the sight of Blackberry - a half peregrine, half prairie falcon - sends them fleeing.

Community members and businesses say the problem was bad before East Coast Falcons stepped in.

Bob Alexander, of Ocean City Coffee Company, says he seen seagulls come down and take a bucket of french fries right out of somebody's hand.

Since Monday, a rotating group of trained raptors now patrols the boards.

The falcon protection comes with a price: Ocean City is paying East Coast Falcons roughly $2,100 a day, every day through Labor Day.

Taxpayers say they don’t mind the extra cost.

“We've got to continue it. This is a family resort. It’s  the best we can do. I think they have the money, they can do it,” says Madge Jordan, of Ocean City.

The falcons are pre-fed before beginning their watch, so their presence is strictly a scare tactic.

 

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