Falcons are forcing gulls into the town

AS WITH the rest of my relations, we all originally belong to Scarborough. For the past 53 years I have lived up here out in the countryside, 12 miles north of Glasgow, but am still a regular visitor to Scarborough.

As a lad, (1955), six nights a week I used to have to call at the Scarborough Evening News on my bike, where the papers were printed, this was to collect our allocation of papers for the shop before then having to deliver them. At that time I had a paper round for Yates’ that was on Victoria Road.

Going back to my relations, you may well have seen that old photograph of the time where Scarborough castle came under shellfire. The person standing with the rifle outside the castle is my great grandfather, who was the custodian of the castle, along with his daughters, all lived in the keep which I believe is now a museum. He is one of the Pickups, brother to Harry Pickup, the inventor of Harpic. One of his daughters in the photograph is Doris Pickup who became the wife of Digger Kelly, who was one of Scarborough’s prominent councillors for the north side of town.

My reason for writing – I still get the occasional Scarborough paper sent to me and have been reading with interest the new attraction on the Marine Drive, that being the peregrine falcons.

As long as I can remember the cliffs around the Marine Drive belonged to the seagulls, so when falcons move in then the seagulls will move out. To be fair, coastal cliffs are the natural habitat of falcons. I have a friend who is licensed to keep peregrine falcons where he and his falcons are hired out for scaring seagulls off the roofs of buildings to stop them nesting. This now explains as to why all those lovely buildings in Scarborough are in such a shocking state through bird droppings, the seagulls have moved from the cliffs into town.

I see in a letter sent in by a Mr and Mrs Chapman, that council workers are being used to clean buildings. I take it, it will be the taxpayers that will be footing this clean-up bill, for it won’t be the RSPB.

This had come all too late, for sadly I have heard many people saying that although they love Scarborough, they won’t be returning. The reason being, they could not get any sleep for the noise of seagulls on the buildings.

I am afraid the council have got it all wrong, for the peregrine falcons may be an attraction to day visitors but because of gulls now nesting on buildings in the town, talking to those people that I know who were once regular visitors, it seems that these peregrines are responsible for keeping long-term regular visitors staying away.

It would be more in the interests of Scarborough Council if an eagle owl was to come along and eliminate the peregrines. The seagulls would then leave the town, thus moving back to the cliffs.

Something on much the same lines happened on a sparrowhawk’s nest that was being observed in Scotland. A carrion crow, of all things, attacked the sparrowhawk while its mate ate its eggs, that was the end of that filming. Although it did not know it, by its actions the crow, which is also an evil bird, had just saved the lives of 4,000 of our songbirds. Had the eggs hatched out and the youngsters survived for a year, this is the amount of birds they would have to have killed for themselves to survive.

Just for the record I am not a retired gamekeeper, river-keeper or a farmer, neither do I own a gun. I just enjoy going for walks into the countryside and over the hills with a pair of binoculars, with my three Border Collies and a Kelpi, a Kelpi being an Australian dog which is a Border Collie crossed with a wild dingo.

I observe everything that is going on in the wild and don’t like what I see. It is all too one-sided in favour of the raptors.

John Harwood

Derrywood Road

Milton of Capsie

Glasgow