Waterloo Region Record

Hawk CloseupOne of Hawkeyes bird control technicians was featured in the Odd Jobs Series, an occasional feature in The Record, written by Greg Mercer.  It features local people that have unique and interesting jobs.  Hawkeyes bird control technician is a falconer.


This story starts an Odd Jobs series, an occasional feature in The Record on local people with interesting and unusual jobs. Today's profile is of Julia Staines, a bird control technician for Hawkeye Bird and Pest Control who works at the Region of Waterloo landfill.

WATERLOO — Julia and Honey are riding in a black Toyota Tundra pickup, their eyes scanning the skyline.

It's late morning at the Region of Waterloo landfill on Erb Street in Waterloo, and a biting November wind is whipping up litter and a faint whiff of rotting garbage. But Julia and Honey don't mind the cold, or the steady stream of trucks rumbling by.

They're here to work.

The driver, Julia Staines, is a 32-year-old bird control technician. Her partner, Honey, is a four-year-old Harris hawk, a trained bird of prey used by the regional landfill to control bird populations.

About three days a week, the pair patrols the local garbage dump, working eight-hour shifts to chase away the hundreds of gulls and crows attracted by the veritable feast thrown in the trash by Waterloo Region's residents.

Staines works with a whistle, starter pistol, leather falconry glove and a bag full of quail meat. Honey works with her talons, sharp eyes and a natural ability to hunt.

Although Honey can easily catch and kill gulls or crows, she doesn't always have to — just having her around is enough to scare the birds away. Even the sight of her owner's black pickup truck is enough to convince the gulls to leave.


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