Meet Titch - the stunning Harris Hawk whose job is to sends gulls packing
- Credit: Denise Bradley.
A magnificent bird of prey is not the first thing you expect to see on an industrial estate.
But if you were at Fakenham's Jack Richards & Son this week, you might have just caught Harris Hawk, Titch, hard at work.
Titch belongs to Keith Golden, who has three hawks that visit industrial estates across East Anglia using falconry as a deterrent for gulls.
In Fakenham they have been keeping flocks away from products being loaded onto Jack Richards & Son vans before they are transported across the country.
“I’ve seen 250 gulls were on one roof nesting - that's an awful lot of mess,” Mr Golden said.
“We do this to protect humans at the end of the day, because of the faeces which contain bacteria, diseases and whatnot. When we’re on industrial estates, a lot of these goods are going into the food chain and also into people’s homes.
“If a gull defecates all over these goods, it is not going to be good for humans.”
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Titch has made an instant impact on the estate. His presence on a rooftop is enough to send a flock of gulls scattering to the skies, looking to get as far away as possible.
Mr Golden, 39, said he came into the industry by chance, having wanted to be a falconer since he was a child.
He had birds, but it was more of a hobby, until he was 15 when he was asked if he would like to do some bird control, clearing out pigeons.
This soon became gulls, and he thought he could start a business out of this - so established KnG Falconry and Wildlife Control back in 2015.
Blustery conditions can make work tricky for Titch, but a small tracker means the pair found their way back together. When he returns, Titch is rewarded with some chicken legs for his hard work.
Mr Golden said some people believe the methods are unfair, but believes they strike a fair balance.
“We are doing this for the industrial estates,” he added.
“Not for ourselves, it's not fun, nor is it a sport. We do this to help the industry.”