For those wanting to protect their crops or buildings from 100s or 1000s of pest species (starlings, pigeons, sparrows, berry-eating birds), you are seeking something different from falconry (sport hunt pursuing a single kill). Using multiple trained raptors to haze pest species throughout the day in an attempt to get them to leave is a professional service called Bird Abatement, or more specifically, Falconry-based Bird Abatement.
While some bird abatement services use non-falconers, most use falconers with at least 2 years experience (or more). As a sport-based falconry organization, we do not endorse any one specific company that provides bird abatement. Below are some helpful questions and answers in order to guide you in learning more about Falconry-based Bird Abatement, and how you can go about finding a company to provide that service for you.
- How is Falconry-based Bird Abatement different from falconry?
Falconry is the pursuit of game (sport hunt pursuing a kill); the goal of bird abatement is to use trained raptors consistently (all day long for weeks on end) to drive the pest species out of the area. In order to do this, the falconer uses multiple falcons and hawks and hazes the pest species. The bird abatement falconer puts pressure on the pest species throughout the agricultural or commercial area with his/her trained raptors. This presence of multiple hunting hawks or falcons throughout the day keeps the pest species at bay, with the goal that they will eventually leave the area if they cannot feed or be safe.
- Who are the raptor handlers and what is the legal regulations for Falconry-based Bird Abatement?
Falconry-based Bird Abatement is regulated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. If the raptors used fall under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), then the handler must be a licensed falconer. If non-migratory raptors are used, then no falconry licensed is required.
- How do I find a Bird Abatement company to hire?
The best way to find a falconry-based bird abatement company that will meet your needs is to do a Google search for “bird abatement”, “falconry”, and “Oregon”. There are many companies out there providing this service. As a non-profit falconry organization, we do not offer referrals or recommendations. We encourage you to research which one would be best for you. Each abatement company will offer their own bid including their approach and services (note that the cost can run from a few hundred to a thousand dollars a day). You can also ask around to other companies and farms and ask which bird abatement company they use.
- Are there other Bird Abatement companies?
Yes, if you only have an invasion problem (a few birds nesting or invading your home or buildings), or minor problems with pest species, you can hire a bird abatement company that does not use raptors. Most agricultural companies using Falconry-based Bird Abatement are dealing with hundreds of thousands of starlings, gulls, and pest birds. If you are dealing with fewer than a hundred, you can consider a company that will use netting, traps, or deterrents. Search Google for “bird deterrents” or “commercial bird deterrents”. You can install your own or hire a company.
- What if I only have a few pigeons or starlings that I need removed?
If you only have a small amount of non-protected species (Rock Doves/Pigeons, English Sparrows, European Starlings, Eurasian Collared Doves), you can have someone trap or remove the birds. Some falconers will offer to do this for low cost or free in order to get high quality food for their hawks and falcons. Most birds can be trapped at night or have a wire cage set trap them while feeding.
- What if I can’t afford to hire a company? Will a falconer come and hunt at my place?
Depending on where you live, and what kind of habitat and hunting area you are offering, some falconers might be happy to come and hunt at your farm or industrial area. Please note that falconers show up just once every day or two and try to catch a single pigeon, duck, rabbit, starling, or sparrow. A falconer and his/her raptor hunting for one hour will usually only haze the bird or pest species for that one hour. The only way to use a raptor to deter the pest species to the point of the leaving permanently is to use the consistent hazing provided by Bird Abatement services.