Mike Rowe, best known for his work on the Discovery Channel series Dirty Jobs, shot an episode of his current television show, called Somebody’s Gotta Do It, with Falcon Force last summer. The shoot took place while we were in the thick of protecting wine grapes with our avian warriors. The day was packed with lots of action, funny interviews, peregrine lure flying lessons for Mike, and of course recording our birds in action, through back mounted cameras, as they chased the pesky birds out of the vineyards. All this while I spent the entire day with Mike in my office (aka my truck). A very bright and interesting man, with a fantastic sense of humor! The footage will soon be released (air-date will be announced soon) as season 4 of Somebody’s Gotta Do It on CNN. Stay tuned!
Back by popular demand, on August 29th 2014, Falcon Force presented at Casa Dumetz winery, co-owned by Sonja Magdevski and Emilio Estevez. This was our second appearance at this venue, and ended up being another very successful presentation. Lots of great abatement stories were shared, accompanied with great food and a fantastic selection of wines. This dynamic duo operates a very classy tasting room in Los Alamos CA.
During the summer months, in central Washington, isolated thunder storms are not uncommon. When ripe cherries get drenched with rain water, the purity of the distilled water allows it to penetrate the cherries through the skin causing major swelling. These gorged cherries exposed to the heat of the sun, after the storm clears, often split due to the extreme stretching of the skin. During certain years whole regions of growers end up with a complete loss of annual crops due to frequency of the summertime isolated thunder storms. Those larger growers who can afford the service at $1,200.00 per hour, employ helicopter pilots to immediately follow each storm and hover a few feet above each row of cherries to blow dry as much of the rain water as possible in order to prevent crop damage.
Today we had a very interesting phone call from a local birder asking us if we had lost one of our birds? Upon arriving on the location of the bird last seen and meeting with the kind man, we confirmed that it was indeed a Harris Hawk and it was a falconer’s lost bird hunting independently; however, it was not one of ours. The bird did not hesitate coming down to the garnished lure and was recovered shortly after. Thanks to FalconFinders.com ( a website designed by a lady falconer, Bridget Maguire-Colton, specifically for lost or found falconry raptors) an email was sent to the falconry community a few days prior that described a 24 year old male Harris Hawk Lost at Carlsbad CA with the owners phone number. The bird was independently hunting for 6 days before he was recovered and as it turned out he is the oldest hunting Harris Hawk in CA. The bird was returned to his very happy owner and a follow up phone call confirmed that he is doing well indeed.
A local construction company brought us a bucket full of downy Kestrel babies, collected from a construction site nearby. The nest site was unfortunately destroyed and these babies had no chance of surviving on their own; they were at a very critical stage in their lives and keeping them would mean imprinting them to us. We had the fortunate privilege of caring for them for a short time before they were turned into a rehab facility. They will be released when they are old enough to feed themselves.
We are fortunate to have the company of our loyal English Pointers in the field and at work. Our Falconry expeditions revolve around finding prairie grouse with the aid of these magnificent dogs without whom it is nearly impossible to find these well camouflaged birds in a sea of sage brush, and during our abatement season they guard our raptors from predators at the weathering yard where the birds are kept while not working. Every third year we add a new canine companion to our team, the process starts with two new pups that are allowed to naturally develop, when they reach ten months old the training process starts and for the next four months they are polished and finished as fine hunting dogs. then the better of the two is selected to become a permanent team member and a good falconer’s home is found for the other one. We are currently raising 2 pups for this process. Pleased to introduce to you “Sage” and “Grace” two very fine English Pointers and legendary bird finders in making.
This spring we welcomed two prominent clients to the Falcon Force family, and have been providing our bird abatement services to very large theme parks in Southern California. Due to this recent expansion we purchased 5 Harris’ hawks for abating seagulls and pigeons. The new female additions are named Tex Anna, Blaze and Oakley (named after Annie Oakley the sharp shooter). The other two are males named Hit-man and Jingo. It had been a while since I worked with Harris’ Hawks and I have to admit, I had forgotten how amazing these birds are. The Tiercels (males) are so incredibly fast on the wing and they are so agile while turning corners. Their acceleration rate on a direct pursuit can only be compared to the speed of Accipiters, (the family of cooper’s hawks, Goshawks, and the Sharp shinned Hawks). The females though a bit slower on takeoff have such a sweet personality and their larger size has the advantage of presence to the seagulls. These new birds are now fully trained and their effectiveness is very remarkable.