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As one of the largest airports in the UK, Heathrow Airport must ensure their air space stays clear of birds, drones, or any other possible obstructions that could cause a collision with an aircraft. In this situation, Layla Bennett, 34, was contracted to perform falconry-based bird abatement, using her six-year-old Harris Hawk, Milo. Milo was responsible for removing and scaring gulls away from the Heathrow airspace to ensure safe departures and returns of all aircrafts at this large facility. After a hard day of protecting the skies, Milo was placed in his Giant Hood, carrying case, in the back of Bennett’s Van while she checked into The Mercure Hotel attached to the airport. Not even thirty minutes had passed when Bennett returned to her vehicle to retrieve Milo for the night. To her disbelief, the back window had been smashed, and Milo, her long-term friend and partner, was missing.

Bird’s of Prey require a lot of specialized knowledge to train and care for. Their food intake, weights, and well being must be assessed daily, and this hawk did not like to take food from strangers. Bennett fears for Milo’s life and is offering a £1,000 reward for a safe return home.

It was apparent through airport video surveillance that these thieves, identified as two male suspects, had never owned or cared for a bird of prey. Using Bennett’s Falconry glove, they aggressively pulled Milo out of the van and threw him into the back of their car while he flapped and resisted in distress. Milo was left loose in the car as the thieves made their getaway. Officials believe that this incident is related to an unidentified drone flying in Heathrow’s airspace about a month ago; this occurrence stalled many flight departures that day. Authorities are still in search of these thieves, and Bennett is still anxiously anticipating the safe return home of her beloved Harris Hawk, as we all are. Our heart goes out to Bennett at this trying time, just thinking of losing a life long partner is almost unbearable to handle.

If you are experiencing a problem with nuisance birds or animals, whether it be commercial or residential, we will be happy to assist you. At Hawkeye, our trained falconers use birds just like Milo to deter nuisance birds including gulls, pigeons, starlings, you name it. If you would like more information pleas contact us.

 

 

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