Culture / Celebrities

Cannes Hyatt Deploys Hawks to Battle Seagulls

From stealing small nibbles to large steaks, the seagulls are proving to be a hindrance that only hawks can stop.

May 17, 2016 | By Vimi Haridasan

An uninvited guest is never a good thing during a meal and when the guest is question is an opportunistic seagull, it is time to bare the claws, literally. The Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez has deployed a team of trained hawks to keep the gulls away —Heroes do come in all shapes and sizes, after all. Grand-Hyatt-Cannes-Hotel-Martinez-PRINT-(1)

The measure is mainly to ensure that the seagulls do not trouble the rich and famous on the scenic French Rivera, who might be in town for the Cannes Film Festival. “If a gull that weighs a kilo lands on a table, knocking over glasses — keeping in mind that celebrities walking the red carpet are wearing unique dresses — if a drink spills on a dress, it’s all over,” said professional hawker Christophe Puzin. “We basically send our birds of prey to attack seagulls. During the day, when we serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we’re watching to make sure no seagulls land on the tables.”

One of the five winged heroes, happens to be a five-year-old Harris’s Hawk that answers to the name Tsunga. The environmentally friendly solution to the gulls, poses no threat to the guests of the hotel. While we’d like to attribute this to the hawks being super professional but it is probably because humans are too big — sea gulls however are no match to the feathered security team. Grand-Hyatt-Cannes-Hotel-Martinez-PRINT

“We have seen a gull try to take a guest’s steak before. And others come to get peanuts or other things,” said Alessandro Cresta, general manager of the hotel.

“Of course, it is also partly the guests’ fault. They have started taming them by feeding them regularly. After a while, birds get used to the presence of humans and lose their fear.”

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