Falconer hired to keep water-polluting birds at bay

The city of Thunder Bay has planned to manage the problem of water-polluting birds by hiring a falconer to stop birds from nesting in Chippewa Park.

Bird droppings pollute small lakes, making it unsafe for swimmers

The city of Thunder Bay has hired a falconer to stop birds from nesting in Chippewa Park.

City Parks manager Paul Fayrick said controlling the goose population specifically is essential because of how their feces pollutes the park.

Aside from dirtying the ground and making it hard for people to walk or play on the grass, Fayrick said that for some areas there is a very bad effect on water quality and that poses a hazard to swimmers.

“In a place like Chippewa where we’ve got a fairly enclosed bay, it has a huge impact on the water quality from fecal contamination that’s affected out wading and swimming and those options,’ he said.

Birds of prey

Falconer Kym Amonson said that flying birds of prey in the area will help discourage other birds from nesting.

She is using Chinook, a 3-year-old hawk, to help her.

“Our idea is to harass them… our intent is never to kill any animal, that’s not what they do,” said Amonson. “We just need to get them out of here.”

In order to use the hawks as a method of bird control but not have them aggressively hunt the geese and gulls, the falconers keep the hawks above average hunting weight.

"We'll usually couple it with other things: scare kites, sound systems if need be, small pyrotechnic fire cracker charges, anything and everything to really harass pest bird species and get them away from the area,” she said.