Man employed to dress up as massive bird and scare seagulls in bid to stop food being stolen

Eagle man

Eagle Man has become something of a celebrity with both the locals and visitors to Whitby

GB News
Anna Riley

By Anna Riley

Published: 29/05/2023

- 17:09

Updated: 29/05/2023

- 17:11

Eagle Man has become something of a celebrity with both the locals and visitors to Whitby

A man in Whitby, North Yorkshire, has been employed to dress as an inflatable bird of prey in order to scare away seagulls, who are notorious for stealing food along the seafront.

‘Eagle Man’ works at Mister Chips in Whitby and spends his day swooping down on and squawking at seagulls, all to ensure that customers can enjoy their meals without the risk of having their food stolen by seagulls.

John Paul Smith, 20, told GB News: “I’m the Eagle Man, I’m scaring the seagulls away and Whitby is a bad place for the seagulls, taking everyone’s food. People are spending a lot of money on their food and it’s being taken away by the seagulls.

“I’m in this suit to run around and scare the seagulls and shoo them off."

John has taken on the role as ‘Eagle Man’ from the former seagull scarer Corey Grieveson, who is now spreading his wings and moving on to another job.

Corey Grieveson, 18, told GB News: “I’ve always liked eagles, especially big ones, I like big birds, they’re mint.

“I’m trying to teach my mate JP [John] how to use your voice [as the Eagle Man], it’s all in the throat.”

The idea of setting on an employee to dress as an eagle to scare off the seagulls was down to Alex Boyd, 31, the owner of Mister Chips.

He told GB News: “People are coming and they’re buying a meal for four for maybe £30 and they’re getting literally no further past than where I am now and they’re [seagulls] just coming down and smashing them out of their hands, or coming over the top.

“They’re just awful, we had to do something about it.

“People love it, there have been people coming from all over the country to see Corey The Eagle Man and I’m proud of it.”

Eagle Man has become something of a celebrity with both the locals and visitors to Whitby – who appreciate what he does.

One woman along the seafront said: “I think it’s a great idea, let people eat their chips in peace and not be harassed by the seagulls, so he’s doing a good job.”

One man said: “He’s keeping us entertained and the seagulls aren’t bothering us at all, if you’ve got anything to eat, you’re not pestered by them.”

Another man added: “If he scares the seagulls off and people are getting their fish and chips and ice cream stolen just like I’ve had, I think it’s an excellent idea – shame there isn’t more of him.”

But customers in Whitby are not alone in being pestered by seagulls and may not be having the worst of it after a study found that gulls in the south of Britain, especially in the West Country, are bolder than those up north.

Researchers at the universities of Plymouth and Glasgow are carrying out a project using an app called Gulls Eye, which asks people to record their interactions with seagulls.

So far, results show seagulls are less nervous in the south, where they are willing to get closer to people.

It is surmised that the greater presence of holidaymakers, with their ice creams and fish and chips, may have made the birds less timid in the south because the chances of being able to snatch food are higher.

You may like