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Harris’s Hawk: Pancake Protectors of South Jersey

Harris’s Hawk: Pancake Protectors of South Jersey

Is that a hawk eyeing up your pancake? Yup. But trust us, he’s not planning his attack on your scrambled eggs. In fact, he’s protecting your pancakes!

For those foodies out there, lounging at Avalon’s Uncle Bill’s Pancake House, The Princeton, or The Whitebrier, you might’ve recently noticed a feathery sentinel perched nearby. Sure, it’s a bit startling at first, but believe it or not that bird of prey is not team seagull! 

That menacing bird is actually there to prevent those pesky seagulls from pulling their famous swoop and steal, and flying off with your french fries.

These sky guardians are none other than Lily, Nola, and Chase - the trifecta of Harris’s Hawks, managed by South Jersey’s bird bouncers, Paul and Peg Totten of the Wildlife Control Specialist, LLC. 

The Tottens have been falconers for more than 30 years and work as the South Jersey contingent to help with bird abatement issues in Avalon and Cape May, specifically at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House, The Princeton, The Whitebrier, and Cape Resorts venues. 

So what does the presence of a Hawk do to keep those gulls away? Peg put it into perspective for us. Picture this:

You’re about to dive into the ocean on a sizzling summer day, and suddenly - dun dun - a shark appears! You wouldn’t risk it, would you? You’d tell everyone around you to steer clear, and then scuttle back to the safety of your beach chair. And that’s exactly how seagulls feel when they spot these Harris’s Hawk. Abort mission - it’s not worth the feathers.

Enter Lily, Nola, and Chase - the sharks of the restaurant scene, protecting pancakes, french fries, and everything in between so you can enjoy dining in the open air. As the seagulls, more specifically the Laughing Gulls, swoop in to snack on your appetizers, they suddenly see the hawk and abandon their attack. 

The Tottens have extensively studied the behavioral psychology between the hawks (predator) and the gulls (prey) and formulated ways to deter the gulls from swooping, without causing any feathery fatalities. Just one glance from these Hawks sends the gulls into panic mode, warning their pals that a predator is lurking. 

Now, you may wonder, how can these trained, menacing predators just hang out peacefully at family-friendly joints? Simple. Lily, Nola, and Chase are not only smart, agile, and extensively trained, but they’re also total show-offs! They love the restaurant ambiance and the adoring crowds - and are always ready for a photo opp. If you bump into Paul or Peg, don’t hesitate to quiz them on their feathered friends. These proud falconers are always ready to share.

So next time you’re dining al fresco and spot a hawk, remember to send a silent “thank you” letter as you savor your meal in peace. And maybe snap a picture while you’re at it!

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