This article appeared at the OneMK.co.uk web site some time ago. I forgot BTP carried out the sub – contract hawking there!
Feathered bouncers at Dons’ stadium see off pigeon pests
Hawks are being flown around the stadium:mk as a form of pest control.
The Dons have brought in the birds of prey due to problems with pigeons and other birds fouling and shedding feathers all over the pitch.
The method was used at Arsenal’s Highbury Stadium, where a hawk – known as the Highbury Hawk flew regularly.
The first ‘hawkings’ were carried out at the Denbigh stadium yesterday as a trial by pest control company Igrox Limited*.
(BTP Environmental Services Ltd carried it out on their behalf as a specialist contractor).
Pest control experts flew two hawks around scaring off pigeons and other birds and disrupting their nests.
Any nests the hawks couldn’t get to were to be disturbed with the use of a non-lethal shotgun that uses a gas cylinder to sound a ‘bang’.
The hawks – named Bodie and Doyle from 1970s’ TV show The Professionals – came at 6pm, which is when birds start coming back to their nests.
It is not yet known how often this pigeon cleansing ritual will be used.
Simon Neville, who flew the hawks, said: “How often it’s needed all depends on the location.
“A stadium provides all nooks and crannies, so it is attractive to the birds.
“What we have to do is make it unattractive by flying hawks round at regular times.
“We want to create a hostile environment. It’s like having a security guard with a rottweiler.
“The birds are much quicker than the hawks so they say: ‘We’re off!'”
Bird droppings are unsightly, smelly and a slip hazard, particularly in wet weather.
Birds also transmit disease, damage buildings and can cause distress through excessive noise.
MK Dons head groundsman Joe Aylett said: “We’ve been having some trouble with the number of birds around the stadium or, more specifically, the feathers they have been shedding.
“We were coming into the stadium every morning to a pitch covered in plumage that needed to be cleared.
“Not only was it unsightly, but some of the bigger feathers could have become very sharp if they had been trimmed by the mowers while we were cutting the pitch.
“This then becomes a health and safety issue so, to prevent a lot of work clearing them every day, the hawks provide a natural solution to the problem.”
The hawks are flown in pairs because they are competitive with each other.
12 Sep 2007 By OneMK Reporter
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* Igrox Ltd was bought out by Connaught PLC in 2009.