As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Birds of prey seize the day in battle with gulls

By GILLIAN FLACCUS
Associated Press

BREA, Calif. (AP) - As trucks disgorged garbage and bulldozers pushed the trash into neat rows, Daniel Hedin stood in the middle of the dump and scanned the gray sky for dirty birds. When a small flock of seagulls drifted in, he looked at the falcon perched on his wrist.

"You ready, baby girl? Hup! Hup!" he said, and blew a whistle.

Zoe exploded into the air, swooping low before rising into a stiff wind to scatter the nervous gulls. Mission accomplished. She returned to Hedin's gloved hand for a reward of raw pigeon meat.

"The ground and the sky can be covered in gulls," Hedin said, stroking Zoe's breast feathers. "For these people operating heavy machines, it's like operating in a blizzard."

The Olinda Alpha landfill has declared war on the nuisance birds, but rather than using air cannons or high-tech scarecrows, it's fighting fliers with fliers. The dump on a plateau high above suburban Orange County is 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.

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