…By Alan Peterson for TDPel Media.
In a bid to provide customers with a peaceful dining experience, a chippy worker at a seaside town in Whitby dons an eagle costume to scare off seagulls.
Corey Grieveson, an 18-year-old employee, can earn up to £200 a day by patrolling Whitby harbour, which is notorious for seagulls snatching chips from people’s trays.
Although Corey receives generous tips for his unique job, he has encountered some “revenge” from the crafty seagulls in the form of daily bird droppings on his meticulously clean car.
Corey joined the chip shop last summer after the shop’s owner, Alex Boyd, 31, recognized the need for a “live seagull deterrent.”
Corey, who humorously claims to speak “eagle-ish,” shared that tourists are delighted with his work and often ask to take pictures with him in his vibrant outfit.
He describes his approach as charging at the seagulls, ensuring they stay away from people and their food.
Corey revealed that he has experienced seagulls hitting him with their wings, swiftly snatching food, and causing fright, particularly among older individuals enjoying their chips.
Adding to the challenge, seagulls have targeted Corey’s car, coating it with their droppings, leading him to believe they seek revenge.
Having grown up in Whitby, Corey begins his patrols along the harborfront at 6 am during the summer months.
His interest in birdwatching, nurtured by his grandfather, drew him to the job, where he earns a standard rate of £15 per hour.
Grateful holidaymakers, whom Corey has saved from seagull attacks in the past, have been more than happy to reward him for his unique service.
Alex, the co-owner of Mister Chips, a chip shop well-known for its customer base that includes The Grand Tour’s James May, expressed customers’ delight with Corey’s efforts to scare away the seagulls.
Attempting to address the persistent seagull problem, Alex previously tried using large fake eagles on sticks but found the seagulls quickly caught on to the ruse.
Hence, he approached Corey and offered him the role of a full-time seagull scarer during the summer season.
According to Alex, Corey engages in banter with customers and even responds to them with bird noises, claiming he doesn’t speak English but “eagle-ish.”
Alex emphasized the value of having a live deterrent and believes it is a worthy investment to ensure customer safety and keep the seagulls at bay.
Corey advised aspiring professional bird scarers to approach the role with enthusiasm and commitment.
He finds the job enjoyable and appreciates being outdoors, especially during good weather when the seagulls are active, noting that bad weather keeps the seagulls away.