BLOG | Hawkeye
News, little truths and wisdom regarding Pest Bird & Animal Wildlife Control, Falconry, and Birds of Prey....
- Written by Dan Frankian
Most North Americans are familiar with seagulls and how they gather around, scavenging for food. Whether they flock to the park, beach, or your property, they can be a nuisance. But what happens when you have thousands of seagulls nesting on your commercial building or warehouse? Suddenly the slight nuisance has become a serious problem. Flocks of seagulls can pose significant risks to your business’ operations and can even impact low-flying aircrafts. If you have seagulls on your roof, you need to call a professional wildlife removal company. Here’s how Hawkeye can help with seagull prevention and removal from your commercial property.
How Do Seagull Nests Affect my Building/Roof?
There are several serious issues with seagull nests on your building or roof. Firstly, their droppings are acidic. Many birds have highly acidic droppings that can deteriorate asphalt roofing materials and other equipment such as HVAC units, which could eventually lead to flooding. They may also stimulate the growth of algae or moss, causing further issues.
Typically, seagulls construct their nest using grass, seaweed and some sticks—all of which are flammable materials. Nests built near electrical equipment and machinery can pose a significant fire hazard. They can also block ventilation systems, which is a significant hazard for employees and customers who frequent your building and could cause a carbon monoxide buildup.
For industrial and commercial properties that carry liquids, food products, and other consumable goods, the presence of seagull nests could cause health issues. They can carry bacteria and diseases like E. coli, salmonella, psittacosis, and fungi that can cause infections. Anything edible you manufacture could be affected by seagull droppings in the area. They also create unsanitary conditions for employees who work on or around the machinery on your roof. Sometimes the droppings can even be filtered through the HVAC system and cause poor air quality in the building as well.
Can I Legally Shoot Seagulls?
Seagulls can be loud, messy, and annoying, so it’s no wonder why people wonder if they can shoot them. Unfortunately for those with a problematic seagull situation, it is illegal to harass or kill them. It is also illegal to destroy seagull nests or their eggs.
Why is it illegal to shoot seagulls? They are migratory birds, and although they can be found across Canada, many will nest in environmentally sensitive coastal and lakeside areas that have delicate ecosystems. By damaging these nesting sites, the seagull population could significantly decrease, which is why they have become a protected species. They are grouped into a category of bird species that are protected by Canada’s Migratory Birds Convention Act. Killing them is illegal and a special license is required to selectively euthanize them.
If seagulls have been flocking to your roof or property, it can quickly get out of hand. A few seagulls are manageable; tens of thousands of birds nesting on your roof is not. If you’re wondering how you can deter seagulls from nesting on your roof, there are a few things you can do to take control of the situation. Fortunately, gulls are easy to remove from areas, so lethal means are rarely needed. Here are some things a professional wildlife control company can do to deter seagulls from returning to your property:
Birds of Prey/Falconry
One of the most effective ways to eliminate seagulls is through the use of predatory birds such as falcons, owls, hawks, or eagles. Falconry is a natural and humane way to control behavioural patterns of pest birds, such as seagulls, by using these birds of prey to scare and chase away pest birds. This natural relationship between predators and their prey teaches seagulls that the area is unsafe and unfit to nest and visit.
Install Physical Deterrents
Bird netting, sloped sheathing, wires, and barriers are physical deterrents professionals may install to stop seagulls and other pest birds from settling on your property. Some of the most effective deterrents include:
- Bird-Shock Flex-Track: This is a low-profile electrical ledge deterrent system that conditions birds to stay away. It’s humane and provides long-lasting results.
- Bird Spikes: The bird spikes are highly successful at keeping seagulls away, as they are durable, have a low profile, and are blunted so they don’t harm the birds. They make it difficult for seagulls to land on your building.
- Bird Slide: Made of UV-stable polycarbonate, bird slides protect the ledge of your building against all bird species because they prevent birds from gripping onto the ledge; therefore, causing them to “slide” right off.
- Bird Netting: This method prevents birds from being able to land on the roof. The bird netting can be made of galvanized steel cable or other materials.
- Pyrotechnics: This involves using firecrackers or bangers directed towards birds in order to scare them off.
Who Can Remove Them?
Hawkeye Bird and Animal Control 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. We manage pest birds, animals, and other nuisance wildlife and our services include animal and bird control, falconry, balcony cleaning and netting, and cleaning and exclusion. We guarantee results and offer effective solutions that exceed our competitors.
Hawkeye is the only pest bird and animal/wildlife control company in Canada designated "Certified Wildlife Control Professional" and we hold the following licenses: Trapping of Fur Bearing Animals Permit, Falconry Permit, and Pest Control License. Because of these licenses we are the only company in the GTA that is allowed to permanently remove nuisance fur bearing animals, while other companies are required to trap and release these animals.
- Written by Dan Frankian
Have you ever noticed the beauty of hawks, falcons, eagles, and owls flying overhead? Have you ever experienced the nuisance of pest birds on the beach or on your commercial property? There is a natural connection between these types of birds that has become a hobby, a functional practice, and a way of life.
Birds of prey are used by bird control companies to manage and control the overpopulation of pest birds, like seagulls, in a particular area; this process is called abatement. The specialists who train these predatory birds to hunt and scare away these pests are called Falconers. However, the art of falconry is also a huge hobby for hunting enthusiasts. Predatory birds like hawks, owls, eagles, and falcons are also used to hunt mammals like rabbits and squirrels for sport.
So how do you become a falconer? Where can you get falconry experience in Florida? Is falconry even legal? Here’s everything you need to know!
What Is Falconry?
Falconry is the process of hunting wild animals in their natural state and habitat by using a trained bird of prey such as an eagle, falcon, owl, or hawk. The animals that are hunted vary in size and environment depending on which type of raptor you choose to hunt with. These animals can include squirrels, rabbits, voles, mice, fish, and even other birds. There are several species of predatory birds that are used for this practice, but they are all conditioned and trained to catch wild game.
Which Birds Are Used for Falconry?
Despite the name, there are many species of birds rather than falcons that are used for this purpose. Here are the different types of birds used for falconry:
- Hawks: Hawks are divided into two categories
- Buteos: Red-Tailed Hawk, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, Harris’ Hawk
- Accipiters: Eurasian Sparrow Hawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Goshawk, Cooper’s Hawk
- Eagles: Golden Eagle
- Owls: Eurasian Eagle Owl, Great Horned Owl
- Falcons: Peregrine, American and European Kestrel, Gyrfalcon, Merlin
What Is the Best Bird to Start Falconry?
The most common bird for a beginning falconer in North America is the Red-Tailed Hawk. The Harris’ Hawk is also a common bird used for beginner falconers. The Red-Tailed Hawk is preferred because of its ease of breeding in captivity, inherent strength, and capability to hunt prey like hares and rabbits.
Is Falconry Legal in Florida?
Although falconry is legal in Florida, you must obtain a Federal and State license. Your State Game and Fish Department can provide this to you, excluding in Hawaii, because it is illegal to hunt game using a raptor there. Keep in mind that each state has its own regulations and guidelines that meet or surpass federal standards.
How Do I Obtain a Falconry License in Florida?
Since all raptors are protected by Federal, State, and International laws, anyone interested in falconry must obtain specific permits and licenses before practicing this skill or acquiring a bird to train with. This licensing process can take a while, as it includes a written exam and obtaining signatures from a sponsor. Some states further require hunter education courses as well. To learn more about this process in Florida, click here.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Get a Falconry License?
In Florida, falconers must pass a written exam and be at least 14 years old. Additionally, they must score at least an 80% on an exam covering the following:
- Laws and regulations
- Raptor identification
- Raptor physiology
- Raptor behavior
- Raptor ecology
- Raptor healthcare and diseases
- Raptor facilities
- Falconry equipment, terminology, and techniques
In Florida a falconer can progress through the classes of falconry permits (Apprentice, General, and Master) as they gain more experience. The difference between these classes is the type of raptors one can obtain, and the number of raptors they are allowed to house and have under their care.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Falconry License?
Getting into falconry can be an expensive hobby. Not only do you need to pay for your permits, but you also must consider the costs of appropriate facilities, equipment, food, and veterinary bills. Just to get started, you may need to put down $2,000 to cover the cost of books, a five-year license, an annual capture permit, annual hunting licenses/stamps, starting equipment , enough food to supply your bird for a year, and permanent and travelling raptor facilities. You may also need to invest an additional $600 to $1,000 in radio telemetry equipment to track your raptor.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Falconer?
Becoming a falconer will take time, but it depends on the individual’s determination, dedication, and ability to obtain a sponsor. This process could take anywhere from six months to seven years, depending on whether you want to become a Master level falconer or stay as a Beginner. Raptors are live creatures that require a significant amount of time training and caring for. You’ll need to dedicate 365 days a year training them. You will also need to consider how long it may take to get a sponsor. If you have young children or a busy career, you may not be able to have enough time for this hobby, as it is more of a lifestyle.
Are you interested in falconry classes in Florida or want to learn more about what it entails? We can help! Hawkeye Bird and Animal Control services residential, commercial, and industrial properties in the Greater Toronto Area, Golden Horseshoe, and many parts of Florida.
At Hawkeye, we provide unique hands on experiences that allow you to get up close and personal with birds of prey without making the full commitment of becoming a falconer. Using classes and workshops we teach clients how to train and work with these magnificent birds. Want to register for falconry classes in Florida? Email us at email@example.com or call us at (416) 429-5393) or toll free at 1-(855) 393-4295.
Another way to gain experience without a full commitment is by volunteering at a local wildlife rehabilitation center or a nature center that handles raptors. You can get to understand and interact with the animals and see if falconry is an interest you want to pursue.
Hawkeye as a Whole
Aside from managing pest birds, animals, and other nuisance wildlife, our services also include animal and bird control using birds of prey, balcony cleaning and netting, exclusion, installation of screens for doors and dock seals, and a variety of deterrent methods using sounds and visuals. We guarantee results and offer solutions that exceed our competitors.
Hawkeye is the only pest bird and animal control company in Canada designated "Certified Wildlife Control Professional" and we hold the following licenses: Trapping of Fur Bearing Animals Permit, Falconry Permit, and Pest Control License. We are the only company in the GTA allowed to permanently remove nuisance animals, while other companies are required to trap and release the animals.
- Written by Dan Frankian
Are Raccoon Babies Dangerous?
Raccoons are incredibly intelligent and curious creatures and, despite the fact that they have been nicknamed the “trash panda”, they often appear very cute with their small faces and masklike colouration around their eyes. However, raccoons are known for destroying gardens, creating messes, and nesting in residential spaces.
Unfortunately for many homeowners, these ring-tailed creatures are not just a nuisance, but they are also a safety hazard. If you have a raccoon problem in your Toronto home—whether they have nested under your deck or babies are living in your attic—the best solution is to hire a wildlife removal service that guarantees permanent results. Here's what you need to know about whether baby raccoons are dangerous and how Hawkeye’s raccoon removal services in Toronto and the GTA can help.
What Month Do Raccoons Have Babies?
The reproduction of raccoons begins in January, and by April or May, female raccoons give birth to their young. In each litter, there are usually one to six baby raccoons. The first year of the kit’s life is very sheltered by their mother until they grow large enough to defend themselves.
Are Raccoon Babies Dangerous?
Baby raccoons cannot survive on their own. Due to the high risk of starvation in the wild, baby raccoons have little time to build up their fat reserves before winter. They rely completely on their mothers to find safe shelters for them to grow until they are independent at 12 to 14 months. Female raccoons frequently choose hidden areas near the home such as chimneys and attics as denning sites. This brings them into obvious conflict with humans, who don’t want them on their property. They will bite and scratch when handled, which will not inflict much pain, but it can lead to infection.
Do All Racoon Babies Have Rabies?
Although baby raccoons are not born with the virus, they are exposed to it at birth by their mother as she grooms them. Rabies is not shed in feces, urine, eye or nasal secretions, maternal milk, or musk glands, and it is not carried in the blood. Instead, it passes on through the salivary glands, which is why getting bitten by a racoon can be serious to your health.
Symptoms of rabies include depression, apathy, anorexia, discharge from the eyes and nose, trouble breathing, lack of coordination, paralysis, aggression, and abnormal behaviour. If you have come in physical contact with a racoon, contact your emergency services.
Where Do You Find Baby Raccoons?
When raccoons are ready to nest and raise their young, they don’t want to be disturbed by any predators. They will try to find a safe and sheltered place to hide as the mothers produce their young and raise them. If you suspect there are raccoons on your property, there are several places they may go to nest:
Tips to Remove and Prevent Baby Raccoons
If you have any indication that a raccoon family is nesting on your premises, you should contact a professional wildlife removal service immediately. It can be seriously dangerous for you to attempt to forcibly remove these families on your own, as they may attack or transmit diseases.
Mother raccoons will go to great lengths to hide and keep their babies safe, which means finding their nest can be difficult. They may hide under the foundation of your home or in the attic—anywhere they are unlikely to be found.
Professional raccoon removal services will use some or all of the following techniques to actively remove baby raccoons:
- Live trapping
Protecting the family of raccoons is also a priority for many wildlife removal services, which is why they keep in mind the following:
- Raccoon babies should not be separated from their mother while in the captivity process.
- If the removal process separates the mother from her litter, they need to be properly fed and cared for until they are six weeks old, before they are released into nature. Although please do not attempt to feed them yourselves as this could put you at risk.
- Special animal shelters and services can be contacted to help orphaned pups rehabilitate before they can survive in the wild.
- Individuals who harm or capture wildlife like raccoons in an inhumane manner can be criminally charged and fined according to federal and provincial laws.
How Hawkeye Can Help Rid Your Property of Raccoon Babies
If you have received any indication that a raccoon family is nesting on your property or you feel that you have a raccoon problem in your Toronto-area home, contact Hawkeye Bird and Animal Control immediately. Our team of professionals is trained and experienced to safely remove raccoons from your home.
Unlike other wildlife control services in the GTA, Hawkeye holds the following licenses: Trapping of Fur Bearing Animals Permit, Falconry Permit, and Pest Control License. This allows us to employ control methods in addition to relocation of captured raccoons.
We are also the only pest bird and animal/wildlife control company in the country designated "Certified Wildlife Control Professional" and are permitted to euthanize pest animals in accordance with the Canadian Veterinary Association’s standards. What does this mean? It means we guarantee the permanent removal of raccoons and other wildlife.
When you contact us, we will visit your property and examine the signs that raccoons are present. We will conduct a thorough search of your property to discover where the nests are located. Once we have removed the animals from your property, we can help you secure your house from further raccoon break-ins and provide you with some raccoon prevention tips.
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, balcony cleaning and netting, cleaning, and exclusion.
Related Articles: Raccoon Control and Removal in Mississauga »
- Written by Dan Frankian
This interesting trio of Bald Eagles has hundreds of visitors each day from around the world; courtesy of the Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge Live Stream.
Traditionally, Bald Eagles are thought to mate with one partner for life but that isn't really the case. Female bald eagles are actually rather pragmatic when it comes to their mates. They need a good, strong male to protect and provide; when her chosen one can't or won't deliver, she will often find one who does. She may even go as far as killing the undesirable mate.
So, contrary to popular belief, seeing one female with 2 males isn't as unusual as you may think. However, this particular trio is quite unusual... let's look at their history:
What we see on the live webcam is the female ("Starr") cohabitating with her 2 mates ("Valor I" and "Valor II"). But this story begins much earlier. In 2012, a female bald eagle "Hope" layed 2 eggs which hatched. It became apparent that her mate "Valor" had limited interest or experience in tending to the young. They perished at three days old. The following year, Hope was seen rebuilding a nest in a new location with TWO adult males (now named "Valor I" and "Valor II"). Together, they successfully raised two eaglets. They did so again in the following years.
Tragedy struck in March of 2017 when 2 adult eagles attacked the nest containing 2 eaglets and one egg that never hatched. After a prolonged battle, Valor I and Valor II emerged victorious but Hope was nowhere to be found. Searchers went looking for her to no avail. The 2 males proceeded to raise the two eaglets who fledged at the end of May.
By September that same year a new female appeared. So, instead of going off in different directions in search for a new mate each, our two males invited one female ("Starr") and thus completed their trio again. Starr was observed mating with both males and layed two eggs in early February 2018. Only one of the emerging eaglets survived that year. In 2019 the trio successfully raised three eaglets who all fledged in June.