Somerset

University of Bath gull-scaring Eagle Owl given library card

Yoda the Eagle Owl's new library card Image copyright University of Bath
Image caption The university library staff issued Yoda with his own card as a thank you for his work

An owl which is used to deter seagulls from nesting at the University of Bath has been given a library card in recognition of his "valuable service".

Yoda the Eagle Owl visits the campus twice a week with his handler, Marcus, as an environmentally friendly method to control the numbers of gulls.

In recognition of his work, the university decided to issue the seven-year-old bird with his own card.

The university said the card had not yet been presented to Yoda.

'Unsettle gulls'

Image copyright University of Bath
Image caption Yoda the Eagle Owl is taken to the University of Bath to frighten away seagulls

"The University has invited Yoda and his handler Marcus to visit the campus twice a week as an environmentally friendly method to control the seagull numbers on campus and thereby limit the potential adverse effects a large gull population can have," a spokesman said.

"During his visits, Yoda's presence has the effect of unsettling the gull population and dissuading them from hanging around on campus and from nesting further in the area.

"Yoda has been hand-reared by his owner which makes him very sociable with humans.

Gulls can become territorial and aggressive during nesting periods.

As they will scavenge almost anything edible, the university said it was concerned they would become a nuisance for staff and students enjoying lunch outdoors.

Yoda could be expected to live for up to 20 years in the wild, but may reach 60 years in captivity.

The University of Bath has more than 15,000 students enrolled at its campus which is located on Claverton Down to the south-east of the historic city.

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