Hawks’ clean bill of health

Birds of prey are keep­ing hos­pi­tal build­ings clear of pi­geons

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Kather­ine Cle­men­tine kather­ine.cle­men­tine@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

HAWKS have been pa­trolling the skies at Hilling­don Hos­pi­tal in an ef­fort to stop pi­geons from roost­ing on the site’s build­ings.

Andy Dobbs, of Apeer Bird & Pest Con­trol Ltd vis­its the site once a week with his well-trained Har­ris Hawks, Bomber and Flo. They fly for ap­prox­i­mately two hours, dis­rupt­ing any pi­geon nest­ing ar­eas, be­fore re­turn­ing to Andy.

In­stead of at­tack­ing the birds, the hawks are trained sim­ply to scare them, so that they are de­terred from roost­ing in the area in the fu­ture.

If pi­geons are al­lowed to roost in ex­ces­sive num­bers it can lead to dam­age to the build­ings as well as cer­tain pub­lic health prob­lems, as pi­geons can carry dis­ease.

Thanks to these hawks we’ve almost made it a pi­geon-free zone

Bomber is a five-yearold male and Flo is a sixyear-old fe­male, and both work to­gether to have a greater im­pact.

Andy also has two other Har­ris Hawks and two fal­cons which he uses for other jobs.

He has worked with birds of prey for pest con­trol pur­poses for around 10 years. He says that they pro­vide an ef­fec­tive and less costly so­lu­tion than the al­ter­na­tives.

He said: “We know that pi­geons are nat­u­rally at­tracted to tall build­ings and can get quite es­tab­lished. Us­ing hawks to con­trol them is a more nat­u­ral method, as it sim­ply makes a site less at­trac­tive to pi­geons.

“A cou­ple of years ago when we started there were 80-90 pi­geons roost­ing on the build­ings ev­ery night. Thanks to these hawks, we’ve almost made it a pi­geon-free zone, with only one or two set­tling in the area.”

n SHOO: Andy Dobbs with Bomber the Har­ris hawk – Andy’s birds visit Hilling­don Hos­pi­tal once a week to dis­cour­age pi­geons from nest­ing in the build­ing

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