Hawks’ clean bill of health
Birds of prey are keeping hospital buildings clear of pigeons
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