European Starling (Sturnus Vulgaris)
The most common and the worst nuisance bird species in North America is the European Starling. A mere 60 birds were introduced from Europe to New England in 1890 which turned into a terrible environmental disaster within a century. Their population is estimated to be between 750 million to 1 billion according to USDA. Starlings travel in flocks of thousands and pose an incredible hazard to air travel. They also cause hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to agricultural operations yearly. Being an introduced species, European starlings are exempt from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. In 2008 the U.S. government poisoned, shot, or trapped 1.7 million starlings, the most of any nuisance species.
It is not uncommon for a flock of 4000 Starlings to cause major loss of revenue in a large vineyard in a week’s time. Starlings are also capable of decimating blueberries, cherries, other types of pitted fruit, and even apples.
Starling flocks also attract Black Birds and Cow Birds. Although they are similar in size and appearance, they are different species, but all three species prefer flying in large flocks to prevent predation.
This group of birds as a whole is commonly referred to as “Black Birds”. These species also roost and eat grains at stock lots where their droppings are a health hazard to livestock and humans alike.
Starlings cause over $1 billion of annual damage to the agricultural industry alone. Our trained falcons are capable of managing thousands of starlings while they travel in large flocks. Modifying nuisance bird behavior with the aid of our experienced Falcons is crucial to controlling these large flocks.
Rock Dove / Common Pigeon (Livia Colombia)
Common pigeons are a nuisance species widespread to all parts of North America. They were introduced to North America as a food species when the settlers arrived, and some domesticated pigeons became feral once they escaped. Pigeons are capable of spreading disease transmittable to humans, livestock and other wildlife. Highly adaptable to all climates and environments, they breed year around and can raise 6 pairs of young annually. Their coexistence with humans in a man made habitat often causes incredible environmental and health hazards. Often found in commercial feed and livestock operations, their droppings are a major health hazard to both livestock and humans alike. Airplane hangers, buildings, airways and storage facilities are common roosting areas for pigeons. Large flocks of pigeons are controlled with our trained falcons, and individual birds are managed at night while roosting indoors with the aid of Harris’ hawks or Aplomado falcons as a direct pursue.
English Sparrow (Passer Domesticus)
A widespread species also introduced from Europe in 1850s, the English sparrow is the most abundant bird species in North America. Sparrows are known to cause severe financial hardship to grape and berry growers. English Sparrows breed year around raising 4-7 offspring per clutch. Very often individual sparrows take refuge in the foliage of the very crop that we are protecting, and due to their size and abundance they are the hardest species to control. Our Aplomado Falcons are trained for a direct pursue type of attack, specifically for managing individual birds in a canopied environment where the nuisance birds are at an advantage with ample nearby habitat.
Western Gull (Larus Agentatus)
Native to the west coast, Western Gulls are extreme health hazards to drinking water reservoirs. They often feed at landfills, sewer ponds and industrial wastelands while roosting at local water reservoirs where their droppings contaminate drinking water causing health hazards. They are also found roosting at airfields and military bases throughout the west coast, causing safety concerns to air travel. Our larger Hybrid falcons are the predator of choice for managing flocks of seagulls, since seagulls are much larger and tend to gang up on smaller falcons.