Maurine L. inquires:
I live in Fort Worth, Texas, as housekeeper to Milo, the U2.
At a Master Naturalist meeting, I met a man who keeps several Harris’s hawks.
They do grackle reduction work for him.
He goes to shopping centers at night with one of his birds, who catches a grackle or a pigeon, and all the other birds in the flock leave.
For a long time.
His hawks stay pretty busy, he says.
Yes Maurine, even with lower traffic at shopping malls, birds have always been a problem in big box stores especially like Home Depot and Lowe’s that have outdoor warehousing.
Bird poop on a $25 oak 2 x 12 is not a good selling feature so it pays for the retailers to retain raptor clearing services.
Raptors have only one thought “where’s my next meal coming from.”
Humans have only one use for raptor birds.
Not as pets.
Not as entertainment.
Not as a playful companion.
They are hunters used worldwide in sport hunting, especially in the middle east
Birds of prey are also rented by farmers to chase Crow flocks into the next county.
A while back Craig Hendee mentored me in the falconry space for about a year.
Here’s why I walked away.
Falconry is the most regulated sport in America.
I simply didn’t have the time to devote.
If I recall it’s two years of mentoring and instruction and then you must be licensed at both the state and at the federal level.
Birds have to live in a “mews” particularly designed coop for raptors.
If a bird loses a feather in must be recorded and then replaced using the process of imping.
The birds are registered to you and the USDA can knock on your door at any time to perform an inspection.
And that’s just where it starts.
Training the birds is rigorous and must be maintained several days a week.
Craigs 22 birds were fed thawed out baby chicks the came on pallets containing ice cube-like cardboard trays.
After all the training there was always the chance that a bird would not return or kill itself by striking telephone wires while flying at 60 miles an hour.
It was that simple everyone would be doing it.
Me with Alvin (Title photo)