Twice a year the most observant guests at Disneyland® Paris attend a rather unique show. Real falcons fly over Central Plaza and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, and can also be seen at Disney Village. They are actually on a mission: they must chase away the seagulls that multiply on the site, especially during the winter and prior to periods of high attendance.
There are 5 falcons of 3 different species: the Harris hawk, the pilgrim falcon and the Gerfaut Pilgrim hybrid falcon. Ludwig has been training them for nearly 35 years and he has now settled for a few weeks at Disneyland Paris. Indeed, the Wild Life team called him in, as they had last year, given his unique skills. He is asked to scare away the seagulls from the parks and the hotels to avoid any damage. He has to do it in a natural manner since the seagulls are an endangered species.
Twice a year, before the Christmas holidays and the February vacations, Ludwig spends a week on site. His falcons, which he chooses especially for their friendliness, are used to areas where tourists are present. In the springtime they are even on a regular mission at Roland Garros during the tennis tournament! The birds can be located thanks to the equipment placed on them and various times a day they fly over the different poles at Disneyland Paris. Their flight lasts various minutes and helps scare the seagulls away. The latter, frightened by this natural predator, do not come back for many weeks. Once their mission is accomplished, the falcons naturally and discreetly join Ludwig in the middle of the park. As Nathalie, Team Leader at the Wild Life team, says, “We do not want the guests to believe this is a show. But we need to have the birds intervene regularly in the winter, when the seagulls are attracted by the food and they can disturb the guests or soil the settings with their droppings. Guests have made some remarks and we wished to react right away. There is no danger of course for the guests or for the Cast Members”.