Devon seaside town deploys robot bird 'predator'

Environment Agency and Teignbridge Council staff with the robo bird
-Credit: (Image: Environment Agency)

A robotic bird of prey has arrived in a Devon seaside town to stop seagulls contaminating bathing waters - and it needs a name. The "robo bird" is modelled after the peregrine falcon and mimics a natural predator.

It will perch on Teignmouth promenade throughout the bathing water season. Environment Agency and Teignbridge Council hope it will cut down on pollution from bird poo - an important factor which can affect water quality.

Other "more conventional approaches" are planned, including investigating problems with drainage. Teignbridge Council has carried out bird counts around the bathing water sampling point, before and after the deployment of the RoboBird so its impact on wildfowl populations can be monitored.

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Jonathan Harvey, an Environment Agency environmental monitoring officer, said: "We'll gauge the effectiveness of the RoboBird through water quality sampling around the pier. We have also planned more conventional approaches for enhancing Teignmouth’s bathing water quality this season, including investigations into drainage systems and potential misconnections."

Resort manager Sarah Holgate said: "As we unveil this exciting initiative, we also urge responsible environmental practices. Avoid pouring waste oil into drains or sewers, as it poses a threat to our beaches.”

The Environment Agency’s bathing water season began last week and sampling of bathing waters will be carried out regularly until the end of September. Anyone fancying a dip is encouraged to check out Swimfo where they can see the classification of the water quality, the latest sample result and if there are any pollution risk forecasts in effect.

Members of the public are being asked for their name suggestions for the robo bird. Ideas can be shared on social media site X using #EArobobird.

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