At first glance, it may look like some gigantic terror bird is terrorising people at famous British locations, including Piccadilly Circus.

But in fact Kai the hawk loves flying around a model village.

At the Babbacombe Model Village in Devon, Kai protects the scale model buildings from seagulls and herons.

And it seems to have worked. Pests have stawed away from the attraction since Kai was introduced.

The model village consists of 400 1/12 scale models of buildings which can house 13,000 miniature people. Famous British landmarks in the village include Piccadilly Circus and Stonehenge.

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By Daily Mail Reporter
18th September 2009
Daily Mail

Perched ominously on the church tower, the giant hawk stares down on the wedding party below.

Evoking memories of a 1960s Twilight Zone episode, or perhaps a 1970s B-movie, the outsized portent of doom looks ready to attack the villagers at the slightest provocation.

However, Kai the Hawk is a protector of the people - he's protecting the model village from angry seagulls and herons looking for a free lunch.

It's a crazy world: Kai the Harris Hawk perches on the church as - if you look closely - the bride carries the groom down the steps

The bird of prey - with a wingspan of four feet - is acting as a burly security guard to watch over the miniature world.

Seagulls which have been wreaking havoc by frightening visitors and vandalising parts of the attraction - stealing lunch from customers and pecking at the tiny buildings and houses, and perhaps abducting a miniature person or two.

But staff at Babbacombe Model Village in Devon - who also run a bird of prey centre - say the pests have stayed away since Kais introduction last week.

General manager Simon Wills said they had experimented with a variety of birds of prey and found the hawk to be 'most effective'.

He said: 'The hawk has worked wonders. Visitors enjoy watching the bird and it keeps the seagulls away from their lunch and the models at the same time.

'There have been many occasions where seagulls have stolen lunch from the customers and made a nuisance of themselves in other ways.

'They have been wreaking havoc, but ever since we brought in the hawk they have completely disappeared. There hasn't been one.

Piccadilly Circus has never looked to quiet, or so rural. But what really stands out is the giant hawk surveying the land like an avian Godzilla

He added: 'It works well because the bird is very territorial. We tried different types of birds including a variety owls but found the hawk was most effective.

'He must look very large and menacing against the miniature buildings of the village because it really does the trick.'

Simon said the bird had also helped to scare off herons which had been stealing rare goldfish from the pond at the attraction.

He added: 'The herons used to wait by the pond all day and would help itself to breakfast, lunch and dinner from it.

'It was a nightmare because a lot of the goldfish were very valuable and we had no way of stopping the herons. But the hawk keeps them away too.'

The attraction was opened 40 years ago when architect Thomas Dobbins decided to recreate the quintessential English rural community.

Everything at the model village is 1/12th scale and there are more than 400 models to house 13,000 tiny people.