BREA, Calif. (AP) — The Olinda Alpha landfill in suburban Southern California has declared war on nuisance birds. But rather than use high-tech scarecrows, the massive dump in Brea has hired a falconer to fly his birds of prey to scare away the seagulls.
It's part of an explosion in falconry for profit in recent years, with one-time hobbyists launching their raptors into the skies above vineyards, farms, landfills, shopping complexes and golf courses nationwide.
Recent changes in federal guidelines have created a niche industry in the past five years.
Since 2007, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has granted 99 special permits to use captive-bred birds of prey for "bird abatement." Companies from California to Texas promise a no-kill, natural solution to cities, wineries and landfills harassed by gulls, grackles and starlings.