By Becca Husselbee
A football team has gone to extreme measures to stop trouble-making birds using their stadium as a toilet and they won’t get this past this hawk-eyed team player.
Carlisle United FC has swooped to get a new member of the backroom team with their lastest signing, Buzz the hawk, who has been brought in to solve a big problem the club has with birds causing a mess at Brunton Park.
In the search for a more permanent cost-effective solution Matt Bond, from Carlisle-based CITO Cleaning Ltd, who are the club’s cleaning contractors, put forward the idea after his birdwatcher son suggested it.
Matt said: “Everybody in the city knows there’s a bird problem here.
“At the football club it’s been there for about three seasons, especially in the first few months of the season.
“Birds nesting is a massive problem.
“This year there seems to be a lot more.”
Seagulls, pigeons, sparrows and other feathered friends have been roosting in the stadium and leaving behind unpleasant deposits which grounds staff and cleaning contractors spending countless hours removing each week.
With the plans approved by the club, Gary Swainson, from the Cumberland Bird of Prey Centre, was brought on board and Buzz started circling the ground last week.
Gary said: “It’s one of those jobs that can be very successful or the species targeted can be very resilient to it.
“It has to be an ongoing process, if you scare them once they will go away but they will come back again.
“We’ve been out at the ground most evenings for the last week.
“The idea is that pest species don’t get a regular time, they just know that the area is patrolled by a predator, they then know it becomes an unsafe place to be.
“The idea is that by flying the hawk they will go and roost somewhere else because they feel uncomfortable.”
Gary describes that birds will naturally try and return to places where the conditions are good for roosting, as Brunton Park appears to be, however it does seem to be solving the problem.
Cleaning contractor, Matt, said: “It’s been very effective so far but it’s not a 100 per cent guarantee.”
While the problem is affecting all sides of the ground the issue is most apparent in the east and west stands.
The scheme at Brunton Park has sparked interest from other areas of the city where there have been high-profile bird problems.
Matt said: “People have been saying to us, ‘Why hasn’t this been done before?”