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


 

Many citizens of Norfolk County have been calling the police to complain about raccoons. Police are requesting residents for the third time this year, that this is not a situation the OPP is trained for. The most recent call to 911 was due to a raccoon on a Norfolk resident’s front porch. But before the officer reached their home, the call was cancelled because the raccoon had run away into the brush. Officials want to remind citizens that although raccoons are considered nocturnal animals, it is very likely to see them out and about during the day for food, or for many other reasons. Contrary to popular belief, day activity of raccoons does not always indicate that a raccoon is sick.

If you are experiencing problems with raccoons, Hawkeye can help you. We have licenced wildlife trappers that can use live traps to catch any nuisance wildlife on your property. Once in the trap the client is given two options either relocation or euthanasia in accordance to the customer’s needs. Some raccoons are aggressive, causing destruction, or harbouring disease, in which case euthanasia is the most likely solution. We are fully licenced and follow the guidelines for euthanasia set out by the Ontario veterinary medical association. We are also about to relocate the animal. In this situation Environment Canada limits the relocation to within only 1 kilometer of where they were found. Raccoons can travel over 6 km in a day, so the likelihood of that raccoon returning to your property is high. 

Here are some tips to make sure you aren’t attracting raccoons to your property:

If you spot a raccoon on your property, don’t call the local authorities, call Hawkeye. We have a 24/7 line you can call toll free at (855) 393-4295 or call our office at (416) 729-4295 during normal business hours.

We will provide an efficient and permanent solution to your problem.

Birds of Prey require a lot of speciality care in regards to housing, feeding, exercise, disease/infection identification, and veterinary care. Mark Thomas, a 45-year-old-man from the United Kingdom was recently banned from keeping birds of prey for the next 15 years – although with the way he treated these birds this should be a permanent ban. Thomas will also be spending the next 16 months in jail as he pled guilty to four charges of animal cruelty. The RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) rescued all hawks under the care, or should I say neglect, of Mr. Thomas, but unfortunately one of his hawks, Storm, was found dead. Two other hawks were found underweight and in poor health, but have since made recoveries; unfortunately due to their overall treatment they will both be living with chronic health conditions.

Storm was a female Harris hawk who upon a post mortem assessment was found to be only 770 grams. This weight is not unheard of but normally female Harris Hawks average around 1 kilogram. In addition to her low weight, Storm was found with severe bumble foot on both feet, muscular atrophy, very poor bodily condition, poor feather quality and fecal staining all over her feathers. All of these conditions point to malnutrition, total lack of husbandry, improper housing, and neglect.

Bumble foot starts off as small callouses or pink areas of irritation, but untreated can turn to large lesions, open wounds, and severe infection. Bumble foot appears in different stages, and if caught early, can be rectified quite easily with a topical cream and a change of perch. In fact an inappropriate perch is the number one cause of bumble foot. Different species of raptors require different style perches which provide the most natural resting location for them. For example, falcons are more suited to block perches, and hawks are more suited to a ring, or bow perch. If the perch is not suited for the specific bird, or the material used to make the perch is too rough, a raptor can easily develop bumble foot. There are also other ways a raptor can develop bumble foot including a damp/unsanitary aviary, lack of activity, overgrown talons, and vitamin A deficiency.

When taking care of birds of prey, they must be assessed and weighed daily. Although there are many different infections and diseases they can be susceptible to, assessing your bird’s health on a daily basis will ensure you catch any early signs of disease or infection, and allows you to treat the problem before it rapidly evolves into something more serious.

The aviary provided for Thomas’ Harris Hawks was absolutely unacceptable and did not meet good practice requirements. This housing did not contain proper perches, and lacked proper weather proofing. The door was constructed with wire fencing which the birds could easily cling to, damage their feathers, or get stuck. The aviary was very small for even one Harris Hawk, never mind three Harris Hawks, and the conditions were unsafe and unsanitary – including the storage of a lawn mower in their mews.

Mark Thomas has spent his life offering falconry training and falconry experiences, teaching other aspiring falconers and members of the public about birds of prey. I am very grateful that this man was exposed for the mistreatment of his birds, and will not be teaching anyone else these neglectful ways for at least 15 years, if not forever.

If you would like to experience falconry and birds of prey that are in well-kept aviaries exceeding good practice standards, come visit us at Hawkeye. We house over 20 different birds of prey, which are all assessed, weighed, and fed daily. You will get the opportunity to have a Harris hawk in good health fly directly to your fist, get up close and personal with our birds of prey, and learn all about the sport of falconry. Contact us to book your falconry experience today!

 

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.

 

Philippine Eagle

A fascinating look at an endagered Philippine Eagle chick growing up... Captured and presented by National Geographic

The Philippine eagle is one of the largest predator birds in the Accipitridae family, and is known as the national bird of the Philippines. They weigh up to 18 pounds and have an average wingspan of over 6 feet. They enjoy gliding and riding thermal columns to conserve energy. The Philippine eagle also performs spectacular flight displays; but mostly during mating season as a sign of courtship. These eagles are gigantic predators of the sky, and are known for carrying off monkeys as prey, but now due to hunting and deforestation, they are at the brink of extinction.

There are over six thousand islands inclusive of the Philippines, of which only four are home to Philippine eagles. Tropical hardwood trees, the most common location for eagle nests, have become a high commodity in illegal logging operations. But even through approved development and logging, over three quarters of forests in the Philippines have been lost since the early 1900’s; providing little accommodation for these eagles in their preferred lowland habitat and causing them to move to the mountains.

In 1987, The Philippine Eagle Foundation was started in attempt to conserve this species. The main goal of this foundation is to perform captive breeding, but they also conduct scientific research, and are working on resource management programs to help with population stability and growth. Based on some of their population research, there are currently an estimated 400 breeding pairs of Philippine eagles. These numbers were extrapolated based on their average territory size and the distance between previously identified nesting sites.

Philippine Eagles sustain monogamous relationships that last a lifetime, and even though they are familiar with each other, the male eagles will still perform a courtship display every time they mate. This spectacle includes unique calls and literal talon gripping flight displays, in which both male and female clasp their talons together during flight. The male also brings food and nesting material to their mate to show that they are able to provide for their family. A clutch of only one egg is laid every two years on average that is incubated for close to two months. Once the eaglet hatches, they remain with their parents for a year and a half before they are able to fend for themselves. During this time the parents may teach their young to use their instinctual abilities to hunt, survive, and care for a family of their own.


The life of the Philippine eagle leaves much up to the imagination with their excellent ability to stay hidden, so there is much more to learn regarding population, life span, wellbeing, and the use of their habitat. All the foundation can do is continue their research and assist in the conservation of this species as much as they can, in hopes to at least stabilize the Philippine eagle population, if not increase it over time. Rare video footage was captured showing an endangered Philippine eagle chick being raised in the wild – click this link to watch – this video is a hope for successful conservation of this spectacular species.

At Hawkeye Bird & Animal Control, we provide assistance with the relocation or rehabilitation of wild birds of prey that are either nesting in a location that is a danger to themselves or humans – or birds of prey that require medical attention. If this is a problem you are dealing with, please visit the contact us section of our website and we would be happy to find a solution that is in the best interests of the wildlife and yourself.

 

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