When it comes to captive-bred birds, there are many who feel that any type of human-trained behaviours is a form of animal cruelty – including falconry. But this type of training is not cruelty, rather falconry is a practice that taps into the natural instincts of birds of prey.
Falconry is used to control nuisance pests and should not be considered cruel since it is a process used to train birds of prey. In this practice, falconers take young birds or passage birds, and teach them how to hunt better through positive training techniques and rewards, whilst caring for them in captivity.
Since this practice is obscure to many people, this article will dive further into the topic of “is falconry cruel?” in order to shed some detail on just what falconry is and how birds of prey are trained for effective natural pest control methods.
This article will allow you a better understanding of how a falconer provides proper care and hunting skills to birds of prey to better foster the natural instincts of the animals. Read on to find out more.
What Is Wild Bird Falconry?
Falconry is the process of a falconer using falcons or other wild birds to hunt and capture wild quarry for food or other eradication methods of the falconer’s choosing. Falconry is an intense and extensive training process whereby humans teach these bird species how to hunt wild prey according to the bird of prey instincts of the species.
When answering the question “is falconry cruel?”, it is important to understand the meaning and origins of the practice. The practice of falconry is said to date all the way back to the beginnings of civilisation, when small game or quarry, needed to be caught.
The training of birds of prey has long been a common practice in assisting hunters during times when less-advanced weaponry existed.
The need for smaller quarry grew rapidly as civilisation continued to rise over the centuries. Hawks and other predatory wild birds used for quarry would soon diminish throughout Europe and other parts of the world, with the rise of firearms as the preferred choice for hunting.
What Is the Purpose of Falconry?
At Project Multi Pest we use falconry as a way to scare away nuisance bird types. Sometimes, even the mere sight or scent of falcons is enough to cause pest birds to take flight.
When falconry is used as a method for hunting, the process can be tedious and time-consuming. Although birds of prey are trained to hunt small animals such as squirrels and rabbits, birds of prey take their time in the hunting process.
There can also be some confusion with the term falconry; a falcon is what gives the term its name, however, hawks and even eagles can also be used in falconry, as can virtually any type of bird of prey that can be adequately trained.
When using a hawk, the term hawking can also be used, but falconry is the popular and generally accepted term used.
Is Falconry Training Cruel?
Falconers have certain qualifications and responsibilities that must be met in order to train birds. There are specific bird-safe protocols that must be followed by all aspiring falconers, in addition to a wide range of detailed and comprehensive guidelines regarding falcon food, and how a certain bird variety responds to foods based on breed traits.
Falconers are trained to become simpatico with the bird they are assigned, and this style of training ensures that the falconer has the latest and most accurate falcon details corresponding to the bird they have chosen to train.
Simply put, there are no moments of abuse or neglect that can occur in falconer training. This is a short training exercise, but an intense one at that. Falcons are never denied food or denied the ability to fly at the hands of a falconer.
Is Falconry Humane?
A better way to view this question is to consider the other types of deterrents used against bird varieties.
In order to control nuisance pests, you often need to introduce the threat of a natural predator. Pigeons and gulls are notoriously difficult to deal with and will simply fly away from common scare tactics, but experience has shown that the regular presence of a falcon or hawk can reduce nesting activities and move pest birds on overtime.
Whilst the use of spikes and preventative netting are all good options for keeping pest birds away, they are often not practical for use over large or difficult to access areas, and are much crueler than the work of a falconer could ever aspire to be.
A bird used in falconry not only has the ability to frighten smaller birds and deter them from returning for good, but they can take to the skies, soaring substantial distances as they fly above nuisance birds sending the pests on the run.
All of this is 100% humane, and since falcons in the UK are initially bred in captivity, to begin with, there is no removal from a natural environment.
Is Falconry Legal in the UK?
You will be pleased to know that outdated and inhumane control methods such as shooting young birds, poisoning them, and damaging their eggs are thankfully in the past. In fact, it is illegal to poison a pest bird or to interfere with nests without permission from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
There is a 100% legal, highly effective, natural, and safe method of seagull and pigeon control with falcons that is our recommended course of action, and that is through the use of falconry. Project Multi Pest are trusted specialists in this area and can offer our professional bird control services throughout London and Kent.
Falconry is legal in the United Kingdom, granted that falconers raise and procure falcons that have been bred in captivity. This greatly reduces the prevalence of more birds becoming endangered in the wild.
Since falconers must breed falcons in captivity, and cannot breed birds in the wild, there has been a sharp decline in bad falconers, and the practice is no longer considered cruel as it was for long periods.
Can Only Falcons Be Used in Falconry?
Falcons, true hawks, and any predatory bird can be classified as acceptable for use in falconry; however, hawks are the most popular bird used. The Harris Hawk is a common bird of prey used due to this bird’s easy adaptability to training and aggressive and territorial behavior that many small and short types respond to with fear.
In addition to the Harris Hawk, many breeds of a falcon, including the peregrine falcon and the red-tailed hawk are also common types that were frequently used in quarry scouting and now nuisance bird control by most falconers.
The type of bird falconers typically choose is really based on which bird they think is the easiest to train and work with. At Project Multi Pest we work with a tri-bred falcon called Trevor and a harris hawk called Bobby. Both have fabulous personalities and adore taking to the skies to frighten off pigeons and gulls.
Hawks are always the recommended species for beginners, but you can opt for any bird of prey granted the bird is not too short or small; these types are prone to health problems and are far too delicate to handle for beginners.
Although a hawk is the most popular for beginners, if you truly want to train the fastest birds properly, the peregrine is the species to go with but other birds work equally well.
Can Falcons Get Rid of Nuisance Birds?
Although DIY pest control methods may be inexpensive to purchase and may look easy to install, they can actually be time-consuming and complex to affix. And, if fitted incorrectly, they can actually do more harm than good.
A reputable pest control company will advise you of the best time of year to target and will fit and maintain any equipment, to ensure that it is effective for many years to come.
It is really important that this is done professionally, as loose, or tatty bird control nets and wires can result in the pests breaking in or even getting tangled and hurt.
This is why employing a bird control expert, such as Project Multi Pest, to install your pest bird solutions, will not only save you money in the long run but provide you with valuable peace of mind.
Having Problems With Wild Birds? Choose PMP
If you are dealing with nuisance pigeons or seagulls, contact us today to consider using falconry to help alleviate the stress these pests are causing your home.
Both our falcon and hawk have been expertly trained and are certain to scare off any pests that have taken up residence where they are not wanted and can prevent these nuisance birds from nesting.