By: Supervisor Todd Spitzer
(SANTA ANA, CA) The Board of Supervisors, at its Sept. 17 meeting, approved a contract with three falconry companies to provide bird abatement at Olinda Alpha Landfill in Brea, Prima Deshecha Landfill in San Juan Capistrano and Frank R. Bowerman Landfill in Irvine.
The California Code of Regulations requires that a landfill operator take adequate steps to minimize bird problems at the landfill. The use of falconry involves releasing one falcon or hawk at a time to fly and disperse the pest birds. As long as the raptor’s presence is maintained, the problem is largely solved.
“Our landfills attract nuisances including birds and seagulls in particular,” Supervisor Todd Spitzer said. “They infiltrate the landfills and get into the waste and then fly around and spread things, creating serious issues.”
Other bird abatement measures used in the past included the use of cracker shell and whistler shell pyrotechnics, strobe lights, gull in distress calls, and radio controlled airplanes. Although some measures worked in the short-term, the problem remained.
Spitzer had concerns about the cost of the services and asked OC Waste and Recycling to closely monitor the process and evaluate its efficiency.
“Falconry is really an old science that is being brought back,” Spitzer said. “I understand the need, but it is expensive. We need to monitor its effectiveness closely.”
Spitzer is working with OC Waste & Recycling to invite the public to witness and observe how falcons are used to mitigate pest birds.