Forget Scarecrows: Falcons Keep Pesky Birds Away

Farmers nationwide fight feathers with feathers
By Rebecca Smith Hurd,  Newser User
Posted Aug 12, 2008 1:38 PM CDT
Farmer Jim Lott prepares a falcon for flight at his Burbank, Wash., blueberry farm. Lott has started using falcons to control nuisance starlings at his farm.    (AP Photo/Shannon Dininny)
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(Newser) – On the heels of new federal regulations, US farmers are deploying falcons to stop smaller fowl from destroying their crops, the AP reports. Indigenous birds of prey may be used in place of older methods like pyrotechnics, propane cannons, and straw men in overalls to keep pest birds from eating their way though fruit, grain, and flowers—munching that cost $944 million in damages last year.

It makes sense to control unwanted flocks this way, says a US Fish and Wildlife official, because it’s more environmentally sound than other methods: The Agriculture Department wiped out 2.7 million nuisance animals in 2004, but falcons are intended to chase off, not kill, the birds.