Raptors Rid Local Farm of Starlings
The ancient art of falconry is now being used in Yakima Valley to protect different crops of berries.
The day starts early-- Falcon Force deploys a team at Roy Farms in Moxee set to rid the crops of starlings that eat the berries. Vahe' Alaverdian is up with his team of falcons and ready to go..
"Usually around five o'clock get the tea going"
"Weigh these birds before they get loaded in the car"
"Look for the first group of starlings coming in"
"The first bird up the bird will fly and push them out"
"That bird is now done for a couple hours after they're fed"
"So you got a fresh bird that comes out with the next group it's just... This give and take of the starlings and us all day"
"We grind all the way until eight o'clock"
"A fourteen hour day is a fourteen hour day"
The falcons are trained to intimidate other birds in a certain area-- they are not hunting. Instead the trainers use a "stooping" technique.
"The bird will stoop down in interest of hitting it. If the bird hits it he gets to eat a full crop my objective is to pull it away and have the bird stoop and pull off in the air and then do it again. This motion of stooping is extremely devastating from a prey point of view"
The birds rid the area of starlings today but the falcons are always at the ready...
"We're always at status quo this is like the army... So we just wait for the next crew to come in and we do the same thing we just push them right out."
You can see more on Falcon Force's website: falconforce.com