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


 

In part one of this topic, we looked at the danger of pest birds in food processing or packaging plants and the damage associated with their presence. We also looked at conducive conditions - conditions or actions that will attract birds such as pigeonsstarlingssparrows, and seagulls.

 

Once the presence of birds has been confirmed, let's look at immediate control methods and long term bird management:

 

Bird Management Strategies

First Line Defense

  • Stop any bird feeding around the facility immediately
    • Any bird management plan should have a clear policy prohibiting employees from feeding birds. Once birds have been accustomed to routine feeding, the birds will continue to return.

  • Eliminate Standing Water Sources
    • All standing water needs to be eliminated. Have the roof inspected regularly to ensure all drains are working properly.
    • Landscape irrigation: Eliminate and prevent pooling of water in areas with low sun exposure.

  • Proper Sanitation Practices
    • Ensure that dumpster lids are closed when not in use.
    • Ensure that trash is removed in a timely fashion.
    • Routinely clean trash receptacles.
    • Immediately clean up/remove any spilled food.

  • Eliminate Entry Points
    • Survey the facility and inspect seals on all openings.
    • Regularly inspect truck bay bumpers and repair if necessary.
    • Check screens on exhaust vents.
    • Ensure that windows are closed and have screens when in use.

 

Pest management programs need to implement a more in-depth section of the program for bird control. As each facility will have its unique challenges, each bird management plan needs to be tailored to the specific site. A well designed and balanced, integrated bird management program will provide long-term and cost-efficient bird control.

 

Prevention Strategies

The best prevention strategy is examination, planning and knowledge of a Bird Control Expert. A bird audit and subsequent bird management plan can put a stop to birds before they ever get near or inside your facility. If birds already found a way in, the key is to act quickly.  Birds remaining within your facility for an extended period increase the risk of exposure. Birds are easiest removed when they are unfamiliar with their surroundings. Whereas, it is much more difficult to remove birds from a facility that has had a long-term bird problem.

Once you have a plan, someone needs to oversee the bird management plan. Thresholds need to be put in place for  different areas of your facility. A a zero threshold is recommended for production areas. Threshold levels will vary based on location and sensitivity of the area. 

Review and remedy as many conducive conditions as possible on an ongoing basis. The longer a conducive condition stays active, the more likely birds, as well as other wildlife or rodents, will be attracted to the site and find a way into the facility.

 

Bird Control Methods

 

Hawkeye Bird & Animal Control will determine the most appropriate bird control strategy based on your  unique situation. Control methods may include Structural Damage Repair, Ledge Protection Systems, Netting & Exclusion, Nest Removal, Pyrotechnics, or Live Trapping. If bird pressure is high (birds have nested), we will likely use bird exclusion methods. If no birds have nested, we can employ deterrent methods.This is an important distinction. Bird exclusion means physically changing the area to permanently prevent entry by pest birds. Whereas, bird deterrent devices inhibit birds from landing on treated areas.

 

In part 3 of this series, we will look at how to prepare an Integrated Bird Management Audit Program. 

While virtually all food plant operations have a solid pest control plan in place, bird control is often overlooked and becomes an afterthought.

Since food processing plants contain areas with very sensitive environments, pest birds can introduce various adulterants and harmful contaminants. Even a single bird that finds its way into a food plant can trigger a host of concerns such as, failed audits, product contamination, plant closure, production stoppage, lost revenues, fines, structural damage, health hazards to occupants and fire hazards.

The most common pest birds seeking access to food plant operations are pigeons, starlings, sparrows, and seagulls. Each of these birds can cause a host of concerns and issues for food processing facilities. Just one bird can cause catastrophic damage. In most cases, small pest birds such as Sparrows and Starlings gain access into a facility through damaged bumpers around loading docks, cracks or small openings, a damaged roof.... or, of course, open doors.

Larger birds, such as pigeons and gulls, typically cause more problems around the exterior of a facility on ledges, rooftops, HVAC units, loading docks and related areas. Small or large though, these pest birds will cause significant problems for the interior and exterior of food plants.

 

Conducive Conditions

In most cases, facilities will need to reduce as many conducive conditions as possible, in and around the facility. Even surrounding conditions (i.e., near a public landfill, raw materials mill or body of water) can attract pest birds to a facility. With each of these conditions, great care must be taken to reduce as many conducive conditions as possible.

 

Examples of Conducive Conditions

 

Structural Conditions

  • Loading docks/canopies with open beams and rafters
  • HVAC equipment
  • Pooling water (roof and landscaping)
  • Structural overhangs and ledges
  • Open access points
  • Landscaping (types of plantings)
  • Damaged truck bay bumpers
  • Gaps and opening around the structure
  • Doors with improper sealing

 

Human Conditions

  • Open dumpsters
  • Overflowing dumpsters
  • Dirty dumpsters
  • Product spillage
  • Employees feeding birds
  • Doors left open

 

All these conducive conditions, if left unresolved, can lead to significant bird problems. Reducing as many conducive conditions as possible will be the first step of any bird management program.

 

From the start, your facility should have a bird management plan of action. For the most part, bird problems should not be left to be handled internally, unless your staff has been properly trained and has a bird management plan in place.

Our Bird Control Technicians have the expertise and experience required to rid your facility of pest birds - contact HAWKEYE today to discuss an Integrated Bird Management Audit Program for your facility.

 

View the embedded image gallery online at:
https://www.hawkeye.ca/blog?start=4#sigProId3c70d1ac64

 

 

Golden Eagle

Each year, researchers are monitoring North America's largest bird of prey's migratory population above Montana. Decades of migration indicate that the golden eagles that travel have declined here. Hawk Watch International data from a Bozeman research site measured roughly 650 golden eagles per 100 hours of counting in the early 1990s. In 2018, the number of birds researchers counted was less than half that.

Researchers spend weeks on ridge lines this time of year, using pigeons to lure the magestic Golden Eagles, trapping and banding birds, outfitting them with tracking tags and collecting data.
Migrating golden eagles face a unique set of challenges that include habitat loss, car collisions, power line electrocutions, wind turbines, traps and lead poisoning, to name a few. The birds come from as far north as the Brooks Range in Alaska and tagged birds have wintered as far south as Mexico. What exactly is going on is hard to say.

While some Montana researchers say they’re seeing a decline in eagle numbers, other available research from across the West shows the non-migratory population is more stable. The 55th parallel delineates the two populations, with those that breed in harsher northern climates needing to migrate to follow food sources. This potentially puts them in more danger.

Recent reports there may be reason to believe the bird’s dipping migration numbers are stabilizing in Montana. A Hawk Watch report from 2016 says recent counts give "reason for some optimism," with the highest number of golden eagles tallied in the region since 1998.

A healthy golden eagle population often means a healthy ecosystem, or vice versa. So, what is happening with golden eagles could be in fact indicative of the ecosystem as a whole.

Counting time is coming to a close. Researchers are packing up their work site before snow makes it inaccessible. It’s too soon to tell if the migratory golden eagle decline in Montana has stabilized for good. But scientists and conservationists are working to learn what they can from the birds soaring overhead.

 

In Ontario, breeding Golden Eagles are presently known only from the Hudson Bay Lowland, although there is some evidence suggesting they once nested much further south. Currently there are believed to be 10 to 20 pairs in the province.

Increasing numbers of sub-adult Golden Eagles are spending the summer along the Hudson Bay coast, where they hunt the abundant snow goose at their nesting colonies. The number of Golden Eagles being seen at traditional Ontario hawk migration monitoring stations has increased greatly in the past two decades. In the fall of 2008, several stations on Lake Ontario and Erie reported more than 50 in one day – a number that would have seemed unbelievable even a decade ago.

Previously, the Golden Eagle poplation had suffered from human persecution, such as illegal shooting and trapping, although with improved attitudes toward predators in general, these problems have diminished greatly in recent decades.

Private land owners have a very important role to play in species recovery. If you find a Golden Eagle nesting on your land, you may be eligible for stewardship programs that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats.

 

 

 

A typical drone is made of light composite materials to reduce weight and increase maneuverability. This composite material strength allows drones to cruise at extremely high altitudes, absorbing vibration to decrease sound. Especially when using a drone to survey nesting birds of prey, we want to disturb the birds as little as possible.

Drones are equipped with different state of the art technology such as infrared cameras, GPS and laser, depending on the intended use (consumer, commercial or military UAV) as well as a control system. The remote ground control systems (GSC) are also referred to as a ground cockpit.

In Bird and Animal  Wildlife Control, we use mostly VTOL drones. These are generally quadcopters and can take off, fly, hover and land vertically. The exact meaning of VTOL is “Vertical Take-Off and Landing”.

A few of the latest small drones such as the DJI Mavic Air take VTOL to the next level and can be launched from the palm of your hand. Nearly all drones have a Ground Station Controller (GSC) or a smartphone app allowing us to keep track of the current flight telemetry and see what our drone sees in real time. This is accomplished by FPV technology. FPV means “First Person View”. A video camera is mounted on the unmanned aerial vehicle and this camera broadcasts the live video to the pilot on the ground.  The ground pilot is flying the aircraft as if they were on-board the aircraft instead of looking at the aircraft from the pilot’s actual ground position.

FPV allows the unmanned aircraft to fly much higher and further than you can from looking at the aircraft from the ground.  First Person View allows for more precise flying especially around obstacles, allowing unmanned aerial vehicles to fly very easily indoors, or through forests and around buildings. The live video feed is related to the strength of the signal between the ground control on the drone. Hawkeye's DJI Mavic 2 has an FPV live video range of 2500m with a 720p quality video transmission.

 

View the embedded image gallery online at:
https://www.hawkeye.ca/blog?start=4#sigProId7ce3b6571c

 

At Hawkeye, we use drones to evaluate situations or locations otherwise difficult or impossible to access. A good example is communications and utility towers. In order to ensure the safety of technicians working on tower equipment, nesting birds of prey will have to be temporarily removed or distracted. By obtaining video and images from our drones, we can assess the situation and devise a plan before ever having the need for a person to go near the nest.