Specialist Bird Control
01525 863 951
Our In – house bird of prey service was how BTP started in the year 2000 and we increased or experience and knowledge of the last 20 + years.
Urban bird control is crucial for maintaining public health and safe city environments. Some bird species, like pigeons, sparrows, or seagulls, can become pests due to their large population sizes, noise, and the diseases they can carry. This is where bird control measures, such as using real hawks, come into play.
Hawks are natural predators of many smaller bird species. When smaller birds see a hawk in an area, their instinctual response is to avoid that area out of fear of predation. This is known as biocontrol, where a natural predator is used to control a pest species.
Using a real hawk in bird control works in the following ways:
Smaller birds have an ingrained instinctual fear of predators like hawks. They’ve evolved over millennia to respond quickly and decisively to the presence of such threats. Seeing a hawk in the area triggers their survival instincts, prompting them to leave for safer areas.
Many birds are territorial and will abandon an area if they believe a larger, more dominant predator has claimed it.
The mere sight of a hawk can be enough to scare away smaller birds. Hawks are known for their hunting prowess, and smaller birds will avoid areas where hawks are present to reduce the risk of becoming prey.
Unlike artificial deterrents like statues or recordings, a live hawk presents a dynamic and persistent threat. Its movements and behaviors cannot be predicted or got used to (habituate) by the pest birds, making it a more effective deterrent.
To maximize the effectiveness of this control method, falconers are often employed. These are professionals who train birds of prey and can command them to patrol certain areas. This ensures the hawks are well cared for and the bird control method is applied effectively and ethically.
It’s worth noting that while effective, this method is generally used in conjunction with other bird control methods. These can include physical deterrents like spikes or netting, scaring deterrents, and even other biological controls. The most effective bird control programs typically use a combination of methods to keep pest birds at bay – via an Integrated Bird Management Programme (IBMP).
The use of trained hawks for bird control is considered an eco-friendly, non-lethal approach. Hawks generally do not kill the pest birds but instead, scare them away. It’s a form of natural pest control that avoids the use of chemicals or inhumane practices.
There are some key considerations and practices to keep in mind while using hawks for bird control:
Birds of prey are most effective at dawn and dusk, when pest birds are most active. Regular patrols during these times help to establish a consistent predator presence.
Depending on the pest bird species, different types of hawks may be used. Some hawks are more effective against certain species than others.
Regulations and Ethical Considerations:
In many places, there are strict regulations for the use of birds of prey for pest control to ensure the welfare of both the hawks and the birds they are used to deter. Falconers must adhere to these regulations, which also usually require them to have special training.
Training and Care for the Hawks:
Hawks used for bird control need to be well-cared-for, fed a proper diet, and given plenty of exercise. They are not merely tools for pest control, but highly intelligent animals that require significant care and attention.
Integrated Pest Management:
The use of hawks should be part of an integrated pest management strategy. This means combining the hawks with other methods such as exclusion techniques (like netting and spikes), habitat modification (removing food sources and nesting places), and other deterrents (like noise-makers or decoys). This multi-faceted approach tends to yield the most effective and sustainable results.
In conclusion, using hawks for urban bird control can be a highly effective method when implemented correctly. It leverages the natural predator-prey relationship, providing a solution that can be both effective and ethical, contributing positively to urban ecosystems.
Evaluation and Monitoring:
The effectiveness of using hawks in bird control should be regularly evaluated and monitored. This allows for adjustments to be made to the strategy as necessary. For example, if a particular type of hawk isn’t proving effective at deterring a certain species of bird, a different bird of prey could be introduced.
Education and Awareness:
It’s also important to raise awareness among local communities about why bird control measures are being implemented and how they work. If people understand the rationale behind using hawks for bird control and that it is a humane approach, they are more likely to support it.
One of the primary advantages of using live hawks is their adaptability. Unlike static deterrents, hawks can respond to changes in the behavior of the pest birds. For example, if the pest birds start to gather in a different area, the hawks can be directed to patrol that area.
Bird Health and Population Control:
The presence of hawks can also contribute to the overall health of urban bird populations. By scaring off larger groups of pest birds, hawks help to prevent overcrowding and the spread of diseases, which are common in high-density bird populations.
Public Perception and Engagement:
The sight of a hawk in flight can be fascinating to the public, and this method of bird control can contribute to positive public relations, in addition to its practical benefits. Moreover, public engagement programs can be initiated where people can learn more about these birds of prey and the role they play in maintaining the balance of the urban ecosystem.
Alternatives and Complementary Measures:
While hawks can effectively deter smaller pest birds, some persistent bird species may require additional measures. Other bird control measures include auditory deterrents (like distress calls), visual deterrents (like reflective surfaces or laser devices), and tactile deterrents (like bird spikes or sticky substances). Again, a mix of strategies usually results in the most effective control.
Bird-friendly Urban Planning:
In the long term, incorporating bird-friendly design elements in urban planning can also contribute to controlling pest bird populations. This can include creating green spaces that attract a variety of wildlife, which helps to maintain a natural balance of species, or designing buildings with bird-safe glass to minimize bird collisions.
While the use of hawks in bird control is an effective method, it should be viewed as a part of a long-term, sustainable solution rather than a quick fix. It’s essential to monitor and reassess the strategy regularly, taking into account changes in bird populations, behavior, and urban environments.
In conclusion, urban bird control is a complex issue that requires a multi-faceted, holistic approach. The use of hawks can play a significant role in this, leveraging natural predator-prey relationships to control pest bird populations in a humane and environmentally friendly way. This method, combined with other complementary strategies and thoughtful urban planning, can contribute to creating urban environments that are healthier, safer, and more balanced.
The use of hawks in urban bird control is a practice that, while effective, requires careful planning, continuous monitoring, and adaptability. Its successful implementation largely depends on a well-rounded understanding of both the bird species being controlled and the birds of prey being used for the control.
It’s a strategy that encapsulates a balance of nature and human intervention for the maintenance of urban environmental health.
For all bird & pest control solutions please call us on: 01525 863 951 or 01296 630 934