Falcons take on pest patrol at the Neal Road Landfill

"She does the outside surveillance of the landfill, establishing a Falcon territory, which drives the seagulls out of the 310 acres that we have here," said Dave Myers.

Posted: Dec 28, 2017 4:55 PM

Known to some as "rats of the sky", seagulls are notorious for their "fowl" behavior at the Neal Road Landfill.

"They can land on the garbage, take it off site, drop it on customers and they can become diseased, also," said Eric Miller, manager at the Waste and Recycling Division for Butte County Public Works. "We get over 100,000 vehicles a year and we don't want the seagulls to impact our customers."

They've tried everything - kites, fireworks - but they weren't doing the trick.

"The seagulls just get used to it, but they never get used to the falcon, they see it overhead and it just scares the daylights out of them," said Miller.

Seven years ago, they brought on Dave Myers, who brings his falcons and hawk to the landfill, every day.

Barbie, a 6-year-old white gyrfalcon is one of his best helpers.

"I raised her from an egg, so she's super, super tame," said Myers. "She does the outside surveillance of the landfill, establishing a Falcon territory which drives the seagulls out of the 310 acres that we have here."

So as intimidating as Barbie here might look, her job isn't to kill or eat the Seagulls, it's to displace them.

Myers is licensed through the Department of Fish and Wildlife, so he knows that even though seagulls can be pests, they're still protected.

And his birds? They're good at following the rules. Usually.

"Every hunt's different, when you turn them loose you never know what's going to happen, I see a lot of spectacular flights and chases," said Myers.

"He makes it look easy - I have a parakeet at home that won't even sit on my finger and here he's chasing away Seagulls," said Miller.

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