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News, little truths and wisdom regarding Pest Bird & Animal Wildlife Control, Falconry, and Birds of Prey....


 

Falconry is an age-old practice that involves capturing, training, and keeping birds of prey for use in hunting. Raptors like red-tailed hawks or merlins can be employed to catch small wild game, such as grouse or rabbits, or used to scare off pest birds.

 

But is falconry legal in Canada?

falconry ontario canadaHawkeye’s Falconry Experience in Toronto & the GTA

Falconry, a sport at least 2,000 years old, is still being practiced today in many areas around the world. But is falconry legal in Canada today?

Yes, it is, in fact, legal throughout most of Canada, including B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and PEI. The regulations for raptor hunting and requirements for a falconry licence vary depending on the province.

Nowadays, falconry is mostly considered recreational, with many enthusiasts joining local or global falconry and raptor associations. However, the practice does have some other critical applications such as natural conservation, educational programs, and pest bird control.

When it comes to falconry experience in Ontario, Hawkeye Bird and Animal Control is an expert resource, a Certified Wildlife Control Professional (CWCP) company with a falconry permit.

Hawkeye Bird and Animal Control employs falconry as a humane tool to control behavioural patterns of pest birds naturally. The birds in this category can include pigeons, starlings, sparrows, grackles, seagulls, geese, and more.

We do this via the natural relationship between prey (the pest birds) and their predators (raptors). Birds of prey, also called raptors, can be trained to chase pest birds out of a particular area. This puts instinctual fear into the pest birds, scaring and keeping them away from the area that the raptor patrols.

As a natural form of bird control, falconry actually works quicker and gives more long-lasting results than other methods, such as shooting, trapping, or noise-makers.

Hawkeye Bird and Animal Control offers falconry and bird control services to residential, commercial, and industrial properties and piers in the Greater Toronto Area, Golden Horseshoe, and many parts of Florida. We use falconry to scare away birds that are posing a bird-strike threat to planes at airports and to control congregating problems or nesting infestations at landfills, industrial buildings, recreational areas, and on farmlands.

If Falconry is something that interests you personally, contact Hawkeye today for a once in a lifetime falconry experience where you can handle, fly, and see all of our birds of prey up close and personal including all sorts of hawks, eagles, owls, and falcons.

 

What Is the Best Bird for Falconry?

With the right knowledge, training, and licencing, you can train a bird of prey using food as a motivator. Essentially, the falconer becomes the raptor’s only source of food, so it will learn to obey commands to get that food as a reward.

But what is the best bird of prey to use for the art of falconry?

Well, that depends on what province or territory you live in, as native bird species can vary across the country.

When you get your falconry apprenticeship licence, you can apply to trap your own native bird of prey.

In Ontario, the four common native falconry birds approved for wild capture are:

  • Cooper’s hawk
  • Red-tailed hawk
  • Sharp-shinned hawk
  • Merlin

 

A red-tailed hawk is an excellent choice for your first raptor, as they are considered relatively easy to care for and work with. Since these common prey birds are indigenous to Ontario, they are acclimated to the Ontario climate and terrain. Their natural prey is also in the area. Another good reason to get a native species is that you can release it back into the wild (with Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry approval) if you decide not to continue with falconry or if the particular raptor doesn’t work out.

There are a limited number of wild raptor capture applications approved per year in Ontario through a lottery system. You can only capture one prey bird per approved application and must follow strict regulations on what type of bird (i.e. breed, age) you can and cannot trap.

If you’d rather purchase a prey bird from a breeder, you can go with a Harris’s hawk, a non-native species. The female Harris’s hawk may be the better option, as they are larger and can fly faster over longer distances than the male, plus they are often more relaxed in their behaviour.

 

How Do You Become a Falconer in Ontario?

Falconry is an amazing opportunity to work closely with birds of prey and spend time in the great outdoors. But remember that falconry is a regulated activity in Ontario and the other Canadian provinces that allow it.

When considering getting your falconry licence, you should first understand that raptors do not make good pets. And, to be a falconer, you must be willing and able to actually hunt game with your bird of prey.

Other factors that go into the major commitment of falconry include:

  • Space: To train and hunt with your bird, you need legal access to a good amount of land that contains its natural prey and that’s free of hazards. Things that can be dangerous to a raptor include wires, air traffic, high-traffic roads, and dogs.
  • Mews: You also need to provide the proper amount of space in terms of their housing (i.e. mews), depending on the breed and size of your raptor. For example, the average red-tailed hawk needs an 8’ x 8’ x 8’ hawk house, with both indoor (sheltered) and outdoor space, plus access to a water bath for a few hours every day. You need to make sure they are protected from the weather; whether it’s heat, cold, precipitation, or wind. Lastly, your mews must be in a quiet, stress-free area and must be secure against predators, such as dogs, cats, and coyotes.
  • Equipment/Supplies: Do your homework on what specific equipment and supplies you’ll need for the raptor’s housing facility as well as for training and hunting. Perches, anklets/jesses, leashes, swivels, bells, lures, gloves, hoods, a scale, food, and vitamin supplements are just some examples of what you’ll need.
  • Time: Training, housing, and hunting with a bird of prey is a substantial time commitment. Falconry is not a casual hobby. You need to spend several hours each day training or flying your bird. You also have to be in it for the long haul. Some birds live longer than 30 years in captivity.

 

How Do I Get a Falconry Licence in Ontario?

For Ontarians who are fully committed to the many demands and challenges of learning falconry, the next step is to look into how to get a falconry licence in Ontario. Licensing requirements vary between provinces, so check your provincial government’s website for details if you live outside of Ontario.

Before you get one of the following licences and start to hunt with a native Ontario raptor, you first need to have a small game hunting licence for Ontario.

Once you move on to getting your falconry licence and bird of prey, you must place an identification band on the bird. You also must keep a logbook that records your name and licence number, the species and band number of your bird of prey, and all details on any falconry event you take part in. If your bird suffers an injury or dies, this also must be logged. You’re required by law to keep all of your log records on file for a minimum of five years.

If you’re planning to hunt with a non-native bird of prey, you actually don’t need a falconry licence. But you do still need to follow all of the other requirements just mentioned. 

 

Apprentice Falconry Licence

Before you can practice falconry with a native raptor, you have to get your apprentice falconry licence. To attain this, you need your small game hunting license, as mentioned, and you must also work as an apprentice with an experienced falconer.

Another requirement is that you complete the Ontario Hawking Club Apprenticeship Program, involving 30 hours of classroom-based and/or field falconry instruction for 15 months. This period must span two Octobers.

Once you’ve met these requirements, you can apply for your General Falconry Licence.

About six weeks after you apply for your apprentice falconry licence, you can submit your application to capture a wild raptor. With your apprentice licence, you may only keep one bird of prey, but once you’ve advanced to your general licence you are then allowed to house up to three birds of prey.

 

General Falconry Licence

Armed with your small game hunting license and successful completion of the Ontario Hawking Club Apprenticeship Program, you can apply to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry for your general falconry licence.

You may also be eligible for this licence if you have already had an Ontario general falconry licence at some point within the last five years or if you practiced falconry with your own bird of prey in another jurisdiction for at least two years in a row within the last five years.

Be prepared to wait about six weeks to hear back about your application.

 

Commercial Falconry Licence

The commercial falconry licence allows a falconer to breed birds of prey, keep more than three raptors at once, and also to use them in other commercial applications, such as airport bird control.

To get this designation, you must have your small game hunting license and have had your general falconry licence for at least five years (or can show that you’ve been training and housing raptors for that same period). Again, you’ll need to wait about six weeks to hear back from your Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry district office once you’ve applied.

 

How Much Does It Cost to Become a Falconer?

For those dedicated enough to become a falconer, there are, of course, associated costs. These can vary quite a bit, depending on where you live, what type of falconer license(s) you go for, what type of bird you get, and how many birds you get. Here are some examples of what you’re looking at if you live in Ontario (note: this is not a comprehensive list):

  • Outdoors card: $8.57
  • One-Stop Hunter Education Program (including gun safety): $200.00-$300.00
  • Small game licence: Approx. $22.76 per year
  • Apprentice falconry licence: $20.00
  • Mews: $300.00-$2,000, depending on your setup and construction
  • Equipment: Anywhere from $150.00 to $700.00 for the basics
  • Food: $500.00 per year, on average

 

Overall, you can anticipate spending $1,500 to $2,000 at first , and then adding on the daily costs, like food, on top of that. And getting into commercial falconry costs exponentially more. So, it’s clear that falconry is a significant monetary investment, on top of the time commitment, so there’s a lot to consider carefully before starting on the path to falconry.

Hawkeye Bird and Animal Control offers falconry and bird control services to residential, commercial, and industrial properties and piers in the Greater Toronto Area, Golden Horseshoe, and many parts of Florida. Email us at hawkeye@hawkeye.ca or call us at (416) 429-5393 or toll-free at 1-(855) 393-4295, for expert falconry assistance. Interested in testing out the birds of prey experience? We offer falconry workshops at our facility just outside of Toronto.

 

canada geese in torontoStrolling around Toronto, you may encounter some Canadian geese strutting around the city, showing off their adorable newborns. Enjoy the view. But if you happen to see them atop a roof, you should probably give the Toronto Wildlife Centre (TWC) a call.

According to the city's rehab centre for Toronto's sick or injured wildlife, this time of year is a busy one for rooftop rescues of Canada geese and their goslings. "They're often attracted to green spaces that have been created on balconies or rooftops," says the TWC. "Sometimes however, the parents don't realize the nesting site is too high for their babies who aren't able to fly yet. Even if they don't jump, with no food or water source, this can be fatal for the babies."  

TWC teams respond to multiple rescues every spring and summer that require them to move families of geese closer to nearby water sources. A recent rescue involved taking a family of geese to the wildlife hospital after the mother goose was spotted with blood under her tongue. The goose was given daily medication and antibiotics, and she and her partner even ended up taking care of six other orphaned goslings while at the hospital. 

"...the family of four turned into a family of ten! Once mother goose has recovered, the family will be returned to the wild, where the babies (and the new additions) can finally take their first swim", said the TWC

raccoon control mississaugaDon’t be fooled by their bandit masks and furry bear-like ears; raccoons can be a serious nuisance if they create nests around your home. They constantly search and hunt for food and a place to settle into, which means they may wander onto your yard, climb onto your roof, or make their homes in your attic, chimney, garbage, and more. They are not intentionally trying to destroy your home, but they can do serious damage as they try to make their nests. If you notice raccoons wandering on your property and are wondering about the best ways to get rid of raccoons in your yard, garden, and home, here are some tips!

Contact Hawkeye’s Raccoon Removal Services in the GTA

It takes a lot of work to maintain your lawn, and keep your garden and yard looking beautiful, so if raccoons are causing trouble on your property, the first thing you should do is seek a permanent way to remove them.

 

Hawkeye Bird and Animal Control has several control and removal methods for raccoon families. We use passive and active removal methods that are humane and will keep them away from your home. Some of these methods include one-way exit devices, hand capture and live trapping. When you contact our professional wildlife control company, we will examine your property for signs that raccoons are present and offer you permanent solutions to get rid of them. After removing the pest animals from your property, we can help you secure your house to prevent raccoons from nesting in your home, garden, or attic again.

 

How Do You Get Rid of Raccoons in the Attic?

Attics are a comfy spot for raccoons to build their nests. They are usually quiet, elevated, away from the noise of your home and warm with all the insulation surrounding it. If you suspect that there are raccoons living in your attic, your best option is to contact a professional raccoon removal company. Most roofing companies will not perform an inspection or repair your roof without a wildlife company first solving your pest issue, so don’t waste your time contacting a roofing company first. There are also some preventative measures you can execute on your own including trimming the trees that have branches overhanging your roof or that are close enough to your house that a raccoon could use them to climb onto your roof. You should also keep shrubs or large plants near your house trimmed.  

What Are Raccoons Afraid of?

Although contacting the professionals is your best option, there are also quite a few do-it-yourself measures you can take. The most common method is to scare the adult raccoons away. So, what are raccoons afraid of? You can turn on a loud battery-operated radio in the attic or fireplace to scare them away; they are more afraid of talk shows then loud music. Putting bright lights in areas where they like to hide will also help. Scarecrows, flashing lights, loud sounds and other tactics like these can also help scare raccoons away from your property. Using specific scents can also help to create an unwelcome environment for raccoons.

What Scent Will Keep the Raccoons Away?

Spices

An effective way to keep the raccoons away from your home is to use spices they dislike. The scent of cayenne pepper is detestable to raccoons. You can make a homemade raccoon repellant by adding a small canister of cayenne and one bottle of hot sauce to a gallon of water and spray it around your garden, plants and shrubs. You can also spray this around your trash cans and on your lawn. Spray must be reapplied after it rains or snows. You can also purchase special scented trash bags to repel raccoons. A common scent use for these bags is mint, which raccoons also dislike.

Ammonia

Raccoons hate the smell of ammonia. You can keep a small bowl of it in your fireplace to prevent raccoons from entering your chimney and install a cap on your chimney once they are gone. You can also tie rags into balls and soak them in ammonia to put them where you notice raccoons hanging out on your property. These will help to encourage the raccoons to move to another location, hopefully off your property.

Vinegar

Raccoons also hate the smell of apple cider vinegar—the sharp acidic smell is repulsive to them and will help ward them off. Soak a cloth in the vinegar and place it in an open container near their nesting areas. The smell will make them uncomfortable and encourage them to relocate.

Unfortunately, these are usually short-term solutions. Raccoons may get accustomed to these sights, sounds, and smells and continue entering your property.

Who Do I Call to Get Rid of Raccoons?

If all these preventative measures mentioned above do not work, your best bet is to contact a professional raccoon removal company. In Ontario it is illegal to trap and relocate animals on your own, as many of the wild animals in Canada are protected species. Hawkeye Bird and Animal Control will legally and professionally get rid of the raccoons on your property to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Hawkeye is a bird and animal control company that services residential, commercial, and industrial properties in the Greater Toronto Area, Golden Horseshoe, and many parts of Florida. Our services include animal and bird control, falconry experience, balcony cleaning and netting, and cleaning and exclusion. We guarantee results and offer permanent solutions that exceed our competitors.

How do we do that?

We are the only pest bird and animal/wildlife control company in the country designated "Certified Wildlife Control Professional" and the only company to hold the following license: Trapping of Fur Bearing Animals Permit. This means that unlike other companies in the GTA, we guarantee permanent removal. We can legally euthanize pest fur bearing animal, thus guaranteeing they will not return.

If you need professional help removing raccoons from your home, email us at hawkeye@hawkeye.ca or call us at (416) 429-5393 or toll-free at 1-(855) 393-4295.

 

 

Your roof is of utmost importance - and expensive to replace.

Nesting seagulls as well as raccoons or squirrels can wreak tremendous havoc on your roof. Take care of pest birds or animal wildlife before their activities threaten the structural integrity of your building. This is equally important for residental and industrial properties.

 

Here is a list of best practices for keeping roof damage (and pest birds or animal wildlife) at bay:

  1. Inspect the roof and eaves for pest issues at least once every quarter. 
    This includes insects, rodents, birds, and other wildlife. Signs of activity could include chewed or gnawed wiring, seals, or objects; buildup of excrement/droppings or feathers; or the presence of live or dead pests.

  2. Clear leaf debris off of rooftops and out of gutters.
    Leaf debris cancreate an excellent harborage for pests such as large cockroaches and ants.

  3. Ensure that there are no trees that overhang or touch the roof.
    Trees that touch or are near rooftops create excellent access points for pests and nuisance wildlife.

  4. Remove any standing or pooling water. 
    Many pests, like humans, need water for drinking, grooming, and breeding. Rodents, birds, insects, and mosquitoes can take advantage of even small puddles. Flat rooftops are especially vulnerable to pooling water.

  5. Investigate and repair potential roof leaks quickly.
    Some pests can live and thrive in roofing material if even a small leak goes unrepaired.

  6. Check that all roof drains are free of obstructions or debris.
    This will help prevent pooling water.

  7. Install vent covers on all open vents.
    Vents provide easy access to your facility, especially for rodents and nuisance wildlife.

  8. Install chimney caps.
    This will prevent rodents, birds, bats, or other wildlife from gaining access to fireplaces.

  9. Check screens on the inside of gable vents, ridge vents, and other roof vents.
    Birds, wildlife, and many insects can use these areas to access attic voids.

  10. Seal gaps around piping, cabling, or vents.
    Use rodent-proof material such as copper mesh, harware cloth, and metal.

  11. Check to ensure there are no gaps between the HVAC unit and the surface on which it is installed.
    This can be a safe and warm nesting spot for birds.

  12. Be sure that HVAC panels are tightly closed.
    Birds will enter these areas if they are larger than an inch.