The Wingmaster Falconry contractor recently started working at Recology’s Bayview district recycling center.
What is your job? We use trained birds of prey to keep the sea gull populations down. There is no killing involved. What we do is just put hawks out there so sea gulls know there’s a predator here and they disperse.
How many birds do you use? I’m using two right now.
How are they conditioned? We keep them at a certain weight and keep them a little bit on the edge so they don’t get fat and sit in a tree and not do their job.
What other tools do you use? I have a border collie, Raine, and she’s trained to keep the birds away.
Why does Recology want to keep the gulls at bay? The sea gulls come in and they’ll eat things they’re not supposed to eat and get sick and die, or they carry trash off into the Bay. We’d like them to go back and sit around the Bay and eat the brine and the natural foods that they’re accustomed to eating.
How did you get into this line of work? I’ve been doing falconry as a hobby for many years, although this work isn’t to be confused with falconry because falconry uses birds of prey for hunting.
— John Upton