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Raptor Watch: Meet the birds of prey patrolling Granville Island (VIDEO)

They're keeping your lunch safe from crafty gulls.

It wouldn't be Granville Island without the iconic squawk of the gull.

Unfortunately, these birds are a bit of a nuisance to humans. Gulls at the popular destination are habituated to people's food and have become a rather pesky problem.

That's where The Raptors swoop in.

The Vancouver Island-based group educates the public on birds of prey and offers wildlife management services. Over the years, raptors have proven effective and efficient at taking care of problem bird populations.

They aren't meant to hunt the birds, just scare them away.

"If I hang out with her on the glove, near people that are having lunch, they'll generally give them their distance. But we do sometimes fly around here as well. So having a hawk pop up to the roof is going to push those gulls even further back," explains the program's Sean Baynton.

One of Granville Island's avian sentries is Avah, a Harris's Hawk native to the southwestern U.S. This particular species is perfectly suited for the task.

"They are social in the wild, so they're generally pretty social with people as well. They form strong bonds and they're very cooperative," says Baynton.

The group works seasonally but the summer months are busiest, when throngs of visitors enjoy their food outside. That's when the opportunistic gulls try to steal a snack. 

Signage outside the public market also discourages people from feeding the birds.

It's not uncommon for The Raptors representatives to attract a crowd of curious onlookers. Baynton says it's all part of their work.

"Usually they're surprised that we're not here to put on a show or do some sort of fancy 'flying through hoops' demonstration. They're often a little shocked to find out that wildlife management is our main priority."

So next time you see a beautiful bird of prey patrolling Granville Island just remember, they have an important job to do.