On several holidays (in southern Europe) I have noticed a bird handler exercising a bird of prey in hotel grounds. The handlers often wear clothing advertising shows.

Why is this?

I don't see lion tamers or any other acts bringing their work on holiday. Is it a policy of the hotels to discourage gulls and pigeons?

Bird leaving hotel balcony

  • 2
    I used to work in an office where we’d have a falconer come in once a week to discourage vermin in the grounds. Quite an environmentally friendly way of doing things.
    – Darren
    Nov 14, 2020 at 20:01

1 Answer 1


Typically this is for two reasons (and you have hit on them both in your question)

Advertising for their shows is essential - they need to drum up interest so people will go, pay their money and watch.

But they also perform a service for hotels and urban areas by discouraging pigeons, gulls and other scavengers that can make a mess, cause damage, and generally make a horel or resort look worse.

I'd really like to see lions used to discourage scavengers, though :-)

  • 3
    Lions would be excellent deterrents for vandalism and graffiti too.
    – Criggie
    Nov 15, 2020 at 1:11
  • Also for roadside litterers.
    – ab2
    Nov 15, 2020 at 14:48

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