Yet it seems that they are becoming something like tourist attractions in their own right.
On recent sunny days, when people have gathered outside the parliament, the hawks have been attracting interested tourists.
Their handlers are happy to explain the role of the hawks, and to allow any brave tourists to stroke the creatures. Hopefully all the celebrity-like attention won't put them off the job in hand.
Why compare the meerkat when you can eat one?
THE popularity of the humble meerkat has never been higher, thanks to the talking versions on a popular car insurance advert.
It seems, however, that not everyone is so fond of the creatures, if a rather unusual mix-up is to be believed.
The Connect gift shop on Comely Bank Road, looking to cash in on the animal's popularity, put up a sign saying "Dressed Meerkats" to publicise its line of cuddly toys.
Unfortunately, it went above a sign for the neighbouring shop – Shaw's award winning butchers – which has since had more than a few inquiries from people looking to eat, rather than compare, the meerkat.
Tattoo proves biggest thriller
HE MIGHT have been the modern-day King of Pop, but it seems even the late, great Michael Jackson cannot match the popularity of the Edinburgh International Tattoo – at least in Australia.
Universal Music has revealed that sales of the recent DVD featuring highlights of February's record-breaking Tattoo production Down Under have topped the charts.
The DVD got to the top by knocking the Michael Jackson tribute concert DVD from its lofty perch, and also unseated Madonna and Metallica on the way.
Sum up Capital in a snap
THE Capital's chaotic tram system, or one of its many potholes, could soon become a "defining image" of the city – on a range of greetings cards.
Greetings card chain Scribbler is launching a competition to find an image that best sums up the Capital in 2010. The winning image will feature on a greetings card which will be sold in Scribbler's Edinburgh store.
Manager for Scribbler Edinburgh, Jemma Holford, said: "There's a lot going on in Edinburgh that's begging to be put on a card. People in the capital have been stirred up by the trams – and there are plenty of sights during the Edinburgh Festival."
Perhaps the trams could be used on a much sought after card, bearing the legend "I'm so sorry".