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Hawkeye working at Region of Waterloo Landfill

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Landfill Bird Control

Watch Hawkeye's Dan Frankian and Harris Hawk 'Clara' at work at a Toronto Area Landfill

There are thousands of birds affecting safety at our landfills; Gulls are in their highest number in Ontario. A recent study showed the population of gulls doubles approximately every two to three nesting seasons.



Safety Concerns

There are major health and safety reasons for removal of such birds. Should the landfill have a large number of gulls around the face area, it becomes close to impossible for the bulldozer operators to even see each other. If you have ever been behind the wheel of one of these you will understand why. There are large vertical grilled bars that extend from the bucket of the bulldozer to help push the garbage. It requires the skill of an experienced operator to see through that without adding a couple thousand birds at the operator's eye Level.



Aircraft Safety

Another reason why gulls should be removed from landfill areas is aircraft safety. Many landfills are located near commercial or recreational airfields in the flight path of such airports.


In one bizarre accident involving birds an international jetliner was ready for landing at a European airport when, upon decent, they flew over a landfill and struck two geese which entered the cockpit decapitating the captain and crashing through into first class.


In another incident, the Concord flew out of New York John F. Kennedy's Airport, and while flying over an area landfill, the Concord hit a flock of gulls resulting in the total loss of the left engine and extensive wing damage. This grounded the aircraft for weeks.



Health Concerns

And then there are health considerations. Gulls & starlings are attracted to feed at the face site. The birds might ingest their food on the landfill or take those items off landfill property. This removal of garbage is a large concern as waste material from landfills is transferred to nearby residential properties via birds. If the landfill is close to farmers fields, the potential for transplanted disease to animals as well as crop damage is quite large. If the landfill is near residential housing you could be at risk of spreading several diseases such as e-coli & salmonella.


There is also another contamination concern. Some landfills receive garbage from International Airports. The airport deposits all of its garbage, including international garbage at the landfill. International garbage may carry international diseases & insects which can be dangerous to farms and older or allergy prone residents.


Some landfills have unintentionally made their landfill a big attraction to geese. This has been done by covering over areas of fill with "tasty cut grass". It's almost a buffet, the geese will consume the grass until there is no more.

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