The airport of Malaga, Costa del Sol has, since 1991, a wildlife control service based on the techniques of falconry. The wildlife control using birds of prey as deterrents to prevent birds and other animals invade the airport movement area. The main objective of this service is safety in air traffic.
Birds can cause serious damage to engines and aircraft windows, constituting a serious danger to be avoided. Although airports have used different deterrents, falconry has proved to be the most effective way to avoid the danger of birds. The emission of sounds of birds of prey or the use of flares have only a temporary basis. However, the birds get used to living with these alleged threats and the danger of collisions is again present.
Malaga airport, Costa del Sol use a service consisting of three falconers falconry, a dog (coworker hawks) and a team of hawks and eagles (sort Harris). In the complex domain of falconry, daily patrol the airport grounds combining their techniques: waiting on hand and hand, thus creating an area prohibited to the birds.
With the waiting, the falcon flies in concentric circles around the falconer and dog. When birds are hiding, the dog helps to locate prey, startling to fly again and caught by the hawk. In the low flight and hand for hand, the birds go falconer’s fist to the dam. The main differences are that the techniques of hand and low hand are direct attack flight and are used to control Leporidae (rabbits and hares), herons, seagulls and the like, while the former is used mainly as a preventive.
The birds of prey at the airport are currently employed to scare away birds. Every day, they fly an average of six birds that fly deterrent from ten to thirty minutes. No repeat times or places to avoid the invading birds get used to a behavioral pattern that eventually get to know and therefore evade.
Most of the time, carried out a preventive measure in which there are no actions of harassment and expulsion. When the flocks, the falconer releases the falcon to drive the birds of the enclosure. The prey always perform a natural selection and the birds attacked the weakest and least able to survive.
Before the flight, the falconers weigh the falcon or Harris. Weight control determines, among other aspects, the aggressiveness of the predator. A lighter, more aggressive and therefore more willing to hunt. In addition, “gives” to prey with a tiny radio transmitter on its tail that allows for easy and permanent location.
The training of the birds of prey at the falconer from the airport and lasts three or four months. During this period, reinforcing certain behaviors and punishing others to get the falcon or Harris becomes a relentless hunter.
Malaga airport, Costa del Sol is also developing a breeding program for Harris to ensure the maintenance and development of a service that helps, day after day, to protect the safety of air traffic.