Eye in the Sky

Meet the fal­cons that are a farmer’s friends.

Farm & Ranch Living - - CONTENTS - BY MOLLY JASINSKI

WHEN IT COMES TO KEEP­ING

ranches, vine­yards and or­chards free of pesky birds, there’s a new set of rap­tors in town. Kath­leen Tigan, owner and hu­man mem­ber of Tac­ti­cal Avian Preda­tors, Inc., works with a crew of five fal­cons, a hawk, an owl and a trusty pack of dogs. To­gether they scare off would-be pests from all kinds of agri­cul­tural land, as well as out­door din­ing ar­eas and other places nui­sance birds gather. Star­lings, crows and ravens can de­stroy valu­able crops overnight. Farm­ers and ranch­ers hire Kath­leen, who is a li­censed fal­coner, to pa­trol the skies and keep trou­ble away. It’s known as abate­ment fal­conry, an al­ter­na­tive to such tra­di­tional pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures as poi­son, noise­mak­ers and fire­works. The main ob­jec­tive of abate­ment fal­conry is not to hurt the nui­sance birds—it’s sim­ply to ward them off. Be­cause a group of 20 or so star­lings can eas­ily ex­pand into thousands overnight, pre­ven­tion is key. Kath­leen says her birds are up for the chal­lenge.“Who [bet­ter] to re­move a pest than some­thing that, by na­ture, hunts pest birds?” Ev­ery day looks dif­fer­ent for an abate­ment fal­coner, but Kath­leen says a typ­i­cal one finds her work­ing the acreage at one of her con­tracted prop­er­ties, which span north­ern Ne­vada and Cal­i­for­nia, keep­ing an eye out for nui­sance birds. “There are a lot of ways to do abate­ment fal­conry,” Kath­leen says. “Ev­ery job is dif­fer­ent. You al­ways

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