One of the jobs our birds of prey have is bird abatement. They work at landfills, airports, vineyards and building sites to move birds like gulls, starlings and geese.
Geese in the distance
Geese hanging out near Shakespeare’s grave (Enoch Shakespeare, that is)
We recently started a contract working at my local cemetery to move the flocks of Canada Geese that like to loiter all day leaving their slippery little gifts everywhere. Our job is to go in, count the geese, record any of the neck tags we see and then encourage them to move along. This can be done with lasers, dogs, and of course hawks.
Getting ready to fly
Today we brought Lulu the female Harris hawk over for our literal wild goose chase. It’s not very hard to convince a group of sixty-seven geese to skedaddle once they see Lulu.
Lulu can be a bit of a talker
The end goal
Pretty much one short flight in their direction was enough to send them packing. We still took Lulu for a walk around the rest of the cemetery so she could enjoy some exercise and look beautiful doing it.
Harris hawk appropriately atop the gravestone of Harriet Harris
Lulu going after a toss-up, see the little piece of meat?
There are lots of interesting old tombstones at this cemetery and apparently multiple thousands of people are buried here. Many of the grave markers are very old, and quite a few are for those who died quite young. It’s a beautiful and serene place and I’d like to come back some time with the supplies to do some sketches and stone rubbings.
Someone my age who was “killed in the explosion” in 1887. Likely a miner
Gravesite of a 12 year old boy who died in 1889
You can see that both of these old grave markers have been reinforced with concrete. That’s because they’re carved from marble which is actually a very soft stone that erodes comparatively quickly in the weather. Nowadays most gravestones are made from granite.