Waterloo Station Hawk

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duncanp

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Some stations have a resident cat which keeps down rats and mice, but London Waterloo has a hawk to scare away pigeons.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-46135173

A hawk is to patrol the UK's busiest train station in a bid to stop pigeons pinching passengers' food.

Commuters at Waterloo have complained about the avian pests swooping on their sandwiches and causing a mess, Network Rail said.

It has recruited veteran vermin repeller Aria, five, to patrol in twice-weekly two-hour shifts.

The Harris hawk has previously defended King's Cross station and the Treasury from the winged menace.

Waterloo, which boasts 27 food and drink retailers, is used by 100m people per year, according to Transport for London.

Jason Murphy, from Network Rail, said Aria would help "save money on cleaning bills" by chasing the pigeons away.

He added: "Pigeons can be a real nuisance for people using the station.

"They also cause a lot of mess which needs cleaning up at some expense."
 
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JN114

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I’ve variously seen Hawks at both Waterloo and Paddington on pigeon patrol - and that’s not to exclude other stations they’re just the two I’ve witnessed first hand.

Aria is the latest in a long line of Railway Hawks, I wish her good hunting!
 

Far north 37

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One of the episodes of the tube has a hawk flying through the carriage sheds at neasden depot trying to get rid of the pigeons.
 

Master29

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The irony now is that peregrines were introduced into cities precisely for this purpose but are considered a pest by people who run bird of prey centres.
 

deltic

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Kings Cross has a visiting hawk - seen when catching trains around 6-7ish in the morning
 

duncanp

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Perhaps Kings Cross should have a snowy white owl, as used in the Harry Potter films, instead of a hawk.

Then it could pose for pictures with people at platform nine and there quarters.
 

a_c_skinner

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I met a chap with a torch and a Harris Hawk at my old hospital on Merseyside. As I was pottering back to my car late at night (perhaps even early morning) it took me by surprise. The commonest bird to scare pidgeons is the Harris Hawk, but I'm not sure why that is the bird of choice. The scouse falconer (he called it an 'arris 'awk) said he did it at night to avoid causing offence to onlookers but that kills were very rare, it just scares the blighters away. Pidgeons, not Liverpudlians.
 

infobleep

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A Hawk is also used in East Croydon Town centre, early in the morning.

Pigeons are a hardy breed though. Despite the Hawks they still come back to Waterloo.
 

randyrippley

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Morecambe Promenade station used to have a plastic eagle owl in the rafters...........pigeons ignored it
 

MarkyT

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I worked in the General offices at Waterloo in the early noughties for RT/NR. Our office was just under the glass roof on the concourse side. The captive pigeons were generally in a shocking state, often diseased and dirty, but were well fed from all the station takeaways. When the office air conditioning failed, which it did frequently on hot summer days, we had to get the sealed windows unlocked by facilities for any kind ventilation as the temperature soared, and filthy dust and feathers from their perches and nests on the window sills and in other alcoves blew in...
 

randyrippley

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I worked in the General offices at Waterloo in the early noughties for RT/NR. Our office was just under the glass roof on the concourse side. The captive pigeons were generally in a shocking state, often diseased and dirty, but were well fed from all the station takeaways. When the office air conditioning failed, which it did frequently on hot summer days, we had to get the sealed windows unlocked by facilities for any kind ventilation as the temperature soared, and filthy dust and feathers from their perches and nests on the window sills and in other alcoves blew in...
instant psittacosis...........did no-one ever complain? Unions should have been straight onto that
 

MarkyT

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instant psittacosis...........did no-one ever complain? Unions should have been straight onto that
I recall there were a lot of typically British style understated complaints muttered under the breath, mostly about the uncomfortably sweaty conditions, but nobody ever took it further. I realise now I did have a lot of mild chest complaints at the time which might have been related, but proving that would be extraordinarily difficult now, well over a decade later.
 

Bald Rick

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Does anyone know when the best time to see the Waterloo Hawk is?

It’s not just a Waterloo Hawk - the same is done at Paddington, Liverpool Street and no doubt other stations. However, AIUI the times are randomised so tha tthe pigeons don’t get to accustomed to a certain time of day, and it is preferred to do it at quiet times as apparently passengers don’t like seeing pigeons torn to shreds whilst getting their morning latte.
 

deltic

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The Kings Cross hawk used to be there in the early morning between 6-7am.
 

Aictos

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It’s not just a Waterloo Hawk - the same is done at Paddington, Liverpool Street and no doubt other stations. However, AIUI the times are randomised so tha tthe pigeons don’t get to accustomed to a certain time of day, and it is preferred to do it at quiet times as apparently passengers don’t like seeing pigeons torn to shreds whilst getting their morning latte.

That reminds me of a time that a supervisor of mine went onto the roof of the shopping centre with the pest control contractor as per shopping centre safety rules and the supervisor was told to get a ladder... Said supervisor went away to get such ladder only to come back to face masses of complaints from the office block opposite who had the pleasure of observing first hand the hawk having a pigeon for it's breakfast being ripped to shreds!

They are very intelligent creatures and the idea of them flying around at sites is to give off the impression to the pigeons that the hawk lives nearby and it's not safe for them or their young as I recalled having it explained to me by the contractor.
 
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