Phillippa explains that this is why a falconer needs to be on site, working in the hotspots, at least 4-6 days a week in the beginning (depending on how established a colony of birds is). She explains, “The pigeons needs to see

the hawk as often as possible, exercising and flying around. It makes them unsettled and they’ll be unwilling to stay.” She continued, “You really need to put the hours in. If the pest bird thinks the hawk is just passing through, they’ll sit tight and ride it out. “But if the hawk is there regularly and you

can convince the pest that this is the hawk’s territory, then they won’t hang around and nest there.”

Hiring a falconer to help control pest birds is not uncommon and is quite a spectacle to watch in action.

The falconer will try and get as close as possible to the roosting site and bring the bird over the top of them. Birds instinctively stay high, to keep the vantage point, and trained hawks will stay above the falconer, moving where they’re directed. It’s important that the pest management

professional you hire uses the right type of bird on a site. For example, Phillippa flies Harris’s hawks on stadium jobs, particularly female hawks. They are uniquely suited to doing stadium jobs because they’re a gregarious, laid back, social bird in the wild. That means they cope with the busy stadium environment really well. In the wild they’re designed to work

in crowded woodland, so flying among the metal beams of a stadium roof is no problem: their close wingspan means they can cope with that. “In short, you can’t beat nature at its

best,” says Phillippa. “Like all animals, pigeons are programmed to stay alive and being near a bird of prey is not conducive to that goal.”

Legal stuff

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 protects all wild birds, their nests and eggs. However, specific exemptions permit certain species to be controlled by particular methods for specific reasons. Dee Ward-Thompson, BPCA Technical Manager, explains: “The law is quite complex when it comes to bird control, with many different licences and processes to follow. “Effective, professional bird control will

save you time, money and the effort of cleaning droppings off 60,000 seats. “Stay within the law by using a professional pest management company.”

If you’re looking for a fully insured and qualified pest controller in your area, use the BPCA Find a pest controller tool.

FSM 23

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