By MADDY VITALEJust weeks ago, Ocean City’s Boardwalk and beach at times had the appearance of the Hitchcock movie, “The Birds,” with seagulls making a home atop eateries and umbrellas awaiting an opportune time to snatch food from unsuspecting visitors and residents.Not anymore, thanks to a group of raptors brought in by East Coast Falcons as part of Mayor Jay Gillian’s plan to get rid of the pesky gulls. The raptors chase the gulls away by scaring, not killing, them.On Sunday afternoon, Boardwalk strollers and beachgoers seemed to be the only ones flocking to the boards and the sands. And to the delight of many of the tourists and residents, they could eat whatever treats they wanted without fear of the swooping gulls. “OC” gets ready to take flight.Terry Silber, of Philadelphia, her son, Freddy Silber, and his fiancé, Blair Rogers, sat on a bench and enjoyed eating pizza without being harassed by the gulls.“I think it is wonderful,” Terry Silber said. “It is unbelievable. It is definitely working.”“It’s great we can enjoy pizza without the birds trying to take it away,” her son added.Others had the same sentiment as they munched on French fries, ice cream and candy.“The last time I was here it was a nightmare,” said Kevin Gibson, of Hillsborough, N.J., who is vacationing with family in Ocean City for the week. He sat on a bench and nibbled on a heaping portion of French fries.“I am having no problems eating my fries now,” Gibson said with a laugh. “There aren’t even barely any seagulls around.”From left, Freddy Silber, his fiancé, Blair Rogers, and his mother, Terry Silber, of Philadelphia, enjoy some slices.Joe Colon, of South Philadelphia, ducked under an awning of a pizzeria to enjoy a slice.But he wasn’t hiding his food from seagulls. He wanted to get out of the sun for a bit before he headed back to the beach to be with his family members, whom he said, were eating with no problems, minus the seagulls. The Colons come to Ocean City nearly every weekend in the summer, he said.Sunday was a lot different than earlier this summer, he noted.“There’s only a few seagulls. You expect some. The last time we were here there were a lot,” Colon said.Joe Colon, of South Philadelphia, says he loves not having to worry about gulls swooping down to steal his pizza.Whether it was a restaurant, beach umbrella, or picnic-style lunch on the beach, it seemed seagulls weren’t around.Some vacationers wondered if the gulls decided to get out of town.Janice Campbell, of Medford Lakes, and her family were well aware of the falcon program in Ocean City. She owns a vacation home in Ocean City and the family visits the resort often throughout the summer.“It is absolutely working,” Campbell said as she ate her salad on the beach. “My kids said at night there are no seagulls. That would be cool to see. We just saw kids with containers of food opened on their towels and there were no seagulls around.”From left, Janice Campbell, of Medford Lakes, and her daughter, Jessica with her friend, Lainey Derus, relax at the beach.Just a couple days before, on Friday, people on the Boardwalk saw the raptor program in action with a takeoff.P.J. Simonis, a falconer with East Coast Falcons, walked one of the “watch birds” down the Boardwalk. “OC,” a recently trained Harris hawk, was sent out to patrol the skies.Crowds watched in amazement. One woman asked how the hawk comes back to Simonis. “The birds trust us because we give them reason to,” Simonis said. “It is all about trust.”The raptors patrol Ocean City’s skies each day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The falcons and hawks work the day shift, while an owl takes over at night.Lines of people chatted and waited for their food instead of shooing away gulls.The raptors are sent out to the “hot spot” areas of the Boardwalk where there are eateries.When it is time for the birds to return from their “shift,” the falconers use a whistle. They can watch the bird’s changing location on a GPS tracker.The gull abatement program is said to be the first of its kind for a town at the Jersey Shore.East Coast Falcons is being paid $2,100 per day under a contract that is expected to run through Labor Day, the traditional end of the bustling summer tourism season. Not a seagull in sight on these beach umbrellas.At a recent City Council meeting, City Business Administrator George Savastano said, “As of today, reports about the effectiveness of the program are encouraging.”The program is expected to return next summer if it proves successful this year. East Coast Falcons will be paid a total of $65,100 for its services this summer through Labor Day.Janice Campbell said it might not be necessary.“It is really kind of crazy,” she said of the program’s effectiveness. “We’ll see what happens next year. Hopefully the seagulls will have gotten the signal and they will go somewhere else next year.” Kevin Gibson, of Hillsborough, N.J., takes his time eating fries without fear of gulls.
Share Related Articles StumbleUpon GVC hires ‘comms pro’ Tessa Curtis to re-energise media profile August 25, 2020 Share Martin Lycka – Regulatory high temperatures cancel industry’s ‘silly season’ August 11, 2020 GVC absorbs retail shocks as business recalibrates for critical H2 trading August 13, 2020 Submit GVC Holdings has strengthened its leadership team after confirming the appointment of David Lloyd-Seed, who will join the company as the new Director of Investor Relations and External Communications.In the new role, Lloyd-Seed will take responsibility for leading the Group’s strategic external communication with investors, the City and a range of key stakeholders. He will take up his new post in March 2020, ahead of the publication of the Group’s full year results.Commenting on the appointment, Rob Wood, CFO of GVC Holdings, said: “David brings a huge wealth of experience and expertise to the Group from the City and as a strategic advisor and communicator. His appointment adds further strength and depth to our management team and I am delighted to welcome him on board.”Prior to joining GVC, Lloyd-Seed held the position of Head of Capital Markets at Powerscourt, GVC’s strategic communications advisors. He brings with him over 15 years of experience in Investor Relationship roles, having also worked at Telefonica UK (O2), Severn Trent and Dixons.Lloyd-Seed also had an 18-year career in corporate broking, during which time he advised across multiple sectors on IR, market-related activities, fund-raisings, mergers and IPOs. He is a board member of the Investor Relations Society.Nick Batram, who has been acting as the Group’s investor relations lead in recent months, will return to his full time role as Group Director of Corporate Strategy and Development.Lloyd-Seed added: “I am delighted to be joining GVC and am looking forward to working with the most dynamic management team in the sector.“This is a hugely exciting time for GVC as it consolidates its position as a global industry leader, continues to expand into newly regulating markets, and leads the industry in responsible gambling.”
Speaking of Jordan, he appeared to have another shot at getting on the Western Conference All-Star team when New Orleans’ Anthony Davis (shoulder sprain) pulled out Wednesday. But NBA Commissioner Adam Silver quickly replaced Davis with Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki.A reporter also wanted to know from Rivers pregame how the Clippers can remain competitive without Griffin. Not looking ahead to what’s in front of them is paramount, the coach said.“Whenever, as a coach I’ve had injuries to key guys, you turn the games into individual contests,” Rivers said. “You don’t look at a big picture. You let everybody else do that. Wherever I’ve been, you have injuries and everyone’s forecasting, ‘What’s going to happen?’ And I’m looking at the next game and it’ll be that simple for us, too.”Spencer Hawes, actually the backup post, started for power forward Griffin for the third consecutive game. He said beforehand it will be up to every player on the team to pick up the slack.“Obviously, no one person is going to replace what he does,” Hawes said, “but we all kind of have to bring that much more to the table as long as he’s on the mend.”The Clippers, who began the night in sixth-place in the conference standings, will have just 15 games left in the regular season once this 14-game stretch has been completed.Notes >> Griffin was on hand in street clothes, his right arm in a sling. Griffin and Paul were presented their All-Star game jerseys before the game at center court. Obviously, Griffin won’t be playing. … The Clippers outrebounded the Rockets 49-41. Matt Barnes had nine rebounds to go with his 10 points. … Chris Paul had 12 points, 12 assists and six rebounds, but five of the Clippers’ 15 turnovers. DeAndre Jordan led the Clippers with 24 points and 19 rebounds, and J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford scored 20 apiece. The Rockets, who were without post Dwight Howard (knee), got 22 points from Corey Brewer and 21 from Josh Smith off the bench. All-Star guard James Harden was held to nine points on 3-of-12 shooting. The Rockets were just 9 of 45 (20 percent) from 3-point range.Houston tried to get back into it starting with 4:15 left in the game by repeatedly fouling the poor free-throw-shooting Jordan (40.8 percent before Wednesday) when the Clippers had the ball, but the Rockets couldn’t make enough shots for that plan to bear fruit. Jordan made 12 of 26 free throws overall, 6 of 14 over a two-minute period until the fouling stopped with just under 2 1/2 minutes left and the Clippers up 108-95. The Clippers were ahead by 10 points when the hack-a-DJ began.Rivers afterward was asked if that tactic has become a rallying point for his team.“I don’t know what it’s become, I just know it’s a hard thing to go through from a coaching standpoint and I’m sure for D.J., too,” he said. “We actually gained points during that, so we were happy.” Wednesday marked the first in a stretch of 14 games that could go a long way in determining where the Clippers might be seeded in the Western Conference playoffs. Ten of the games will be against conference foes and only one of those 10 will be against a team not already in the postseason mix — meaning the top eight — and that’s Oklahoma City, which is knocking on the door in ninth.There is a strong possibility that Blake Griffin, arguably the Clippers’ best player, will miss all 14 after having right elbow surgery Monday. Clippers coach Doc Rivers, also president of basketball operations, was queried before tipoff against the Houston Rockets as to whether he is actively pursuing any players to help offset the loss of Griffin, who’s expected out a good month. He answered in the affirmative, but with a disclaimer.“Yeah, I mean, it’s my job; I have to, so I’m always looking,” said Rivers, whose team did well to defeat the Rockets 110-95 before 19,060 at Staples Center. “I’m not going to get pressured into making a bad decision because Blake’s out, though.”The Clippers (35-19), who led just 80-79 after three quarters, remained sixth in the conference standings. Houston (36-17) is now tied for third with Portland. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error