He's big, powerful and gets rid of pests
Next time you are walking around Trafalgar Square or other parts of central London, especially in the early morning, glance up into the sky, you might just see one of them
Next time you are walking around Trafalgar Square or other parts of central London, especially in the early morning, glance up into the sky, you might just see one of them - the hawks who are ridding our Capital of pesky pigeons.
These Harris hawks are part of a 40 strong falconry, specially breed by Van Vynck Environmental Services, to work in difficult urban environments where pigeon pollution in particular, as well as gulls and other birds, foul buildings and spread disease.
The company, which moved into new offices in Basepoint recently, is helping to keep top tourist attractions such as Nelson’s Column,Whitehall and Parliament, free from pigeons whose droppings have a particularly corrosive effect on stone buildings as well as carrying a number of diseases such as Salmonella and Histoplasmosis.
‘Pigeons are amazingly adaptable and netting or using spikes as a deterrent does not always get rid of them,’ explained David Van Vynck, whose family owned business was set up over 20 years ago and is a market leader thanks to its specialist breeding and training techniques. ‘The hawks work by disturbing the pigeon’s pattern of roosting and nesting. They make them feel uneasy and they move on,’ he added.
The Harris Hawk, a splendid bird of prey with a wingspan of up to four feet, works well in built up areas as the bird does not require a large space to operate and is tolerant of background noise. A typical site is visited daily for several weeks to disrupt the routine of the birds and then usually once or twice a week to keep them away. As no chemicals are used it is regarded as a very environmentally friendly way to control unwanted birds.
The company also has a general pest control department dealing with a variety of pests from cockroaches to wasps. Again the emphasis is on prevention, using non toxic baits and minimising any impact on the environment.
Good road links particularly into central London helped the company decide to locate to Basepoint and they moved in June. ‘We were impressed by the standard of the facilities on offer for a comparatively low rent. The most useful aspect of the site is the useable surrounding space such as the parking and the reception area which is great for the initial meeting of visitors,’ said Mr Van Vynck.
Find out more about our bird control measures.