Paddington hawk gets passengers all a flutter

The hawk was spotted at Paddington warding off the pigeons (Picture: Twitter/@robdavidson)

The hawk was spotted at Paddington warding off the pigeons (Picture: Twitter/@robdavidson)

Archant

Passengers at Paddington Station are tweeting even more than usual after they spotted a hawk prowling the station.

(Picture: Twitter)(Picture: Twitter)

Social media was all aflutter when the bird-of-prey was spotted, and while people hurried to work she was already on the job, scaring off pests.

A National Rail spokesperson said: “She does a very good job of putting pigeons off. I’ve seen the same beast floating about King’s Cross.”

The sight ruffled the feathers of twitter user @Gpavey: “A man definitely just walked through Paddington with an eagle?!? Surely that’s not allowed??.”

In fact, the bird is a Harris hawk, a bird with a wingspan of up to 47 inches that hunts small birds and animals.

Several pictures of the Paddington hawk were posted online by bemused passengers (Picture: Instagram/harveygallagher)Several pictures of the Paddington hawk were posted online by bemused passengers (Picture: Instagram/harveygallagher)

However, pigeon-fanciers can rest easy that they won’t be witnessing a rush-hour bloodbath. The hawks do not fly inside the station, but just ride on their handler’s glove.

The handlers make sure that they are well-fed so that they don’t get the urge to hunt.

National Rail added: “We try to go for humane methods if at all possible.

“The hawk’s presence scares them off. They’re there not to kill, but to scare them. Only in extreme circumstances would we kill a pigeon.”

(Picture: Twitter)(Picture: Twitter)

He added: “Although pigeons are lovely birds, they are a menace because their droppings are unhygienic.”

And clearly not all birds have been scared off, as one Twitter user showed with a picture of a pigeon getting onto a Tube at Paddington.

A spokesperson for the firm which provides the bird of prey, Birds Of A Feather, said the Harris hawks have been visiting the station three times a week over the last year, and said they will be stepping up their prescence in March ‘as it’s nesting season’.

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