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Utilising Birds of Prey and Trained Dogs to Deter Ground Nesting Birds

Utilising Birds of Prey and Trained Dogs to Deter Ground Nesting Birds

Lapwings deterred by specialists

With the government promoting the re-use of brownfield sites for housing or industrial use, from a conservation perspective this is an excellent idea, as it protects greenfield sites from development. However this does cause many developers a problem because some ground nesting birds, such as lapwings and little ringed plovers have started to adapt and utilise un-used sites for breeding purposes. When the buildings have been knocked down the area is often very similar to their traditional habitats such as fallow fields, gravel pits and shingle river banks - they also tend to be very secluded and unused by man. As such they make an ideal alternative habitat and a variety of ground nesting birds tend to thrive well on these types of site.

RSK, an international environmental consultancy group, have a project in the North-West to remediate an old chemical factory and chemical landfill site, so the land can be used at a later date for development and landscaping. Last year the project came to a halt as lapwings had started to use the site for nesting. Quite correctly RSK ecologists advised the client that under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is illegal to remove or disturb these birds whilst they are nesting. As such the project had to be halted and thousands of pounds were lost due to the delay in waiting for the birds to complete breeding and for the youngsters to fledge the nest. This was further compounded by the winter weather making it impossible for the large trucks to operate on the clay areas of the site.

The project was re-programmed to start in March, however this is the start of the ground nesting bird season, and it was most likely that the lapwings would return. This would have catastrophic consequences in terms of delivering the projects both successfully and on budget. RSK approached NBC Bird & Pest Solutions whom have a unique and legal approach to this problem, along with a 100% effective and proven track record. NBC are the experts in this field, and Area Manager for the NBC Chester bird and pest control branch, Mark Hudson, has been involved in numerous similar brownfield remediation projects including the Media City site in Salford Quays. Mark is currently undertaking a BSc in Wildlife Conservation; as such he is more than aware of the research that has been undertaken on ground nesting birds, and their decline. The evidence from research proves that they are on the decline due to availability of traditional habitats, nest predation by birds of prey, human activity and dog walking.

NBC having undertaken many different bird control and pest related research projects with the Government Food and Environmental Research Agency (FERA) are well aware of all the latest research available and utilise it to provide effective and natural solutions to nuisance bird problems, whilst at the same time ensure that their activities are ethical and environmentally friendly. Thus for some six years now NBC have been using research to their advantage and have devised a deterrent program to deter ground nesting birds from nesting on sites which may well cause them harm. Specialist dogs and birds of prey are utilised to deter ground nesting birds.

The dogs are trained working dogs that are used for their ability to “point” at scent locations where a bird has been surveying a potential nest site. The dogs are trained to cover large areas of ground by quartering; this activity requires the dog to run a wide pattern from side to side covering an area of land looking for a whiff of scent. Not only does it enable us to locate any bird activity, but it also acts as a major deterrent to any potential nesting birds. Observing the birds is very important because their behaviour will enable us to understand what they are doing. Are they simply looking for food or preparing a nest site?

All locations where birds have been observed or odours have been located are marked off and recorded, enabling us to obtain data on activity, highlighting trends or “hot spots”, thus allowing us to assess the level of deterrent required. We can increase the level of deterrent further by utilising birds of prey. These birds are trained specially for deterrent work and do not hunt the birds, but fly in a menacing manner, thus deterring the ground nesting birds from using the area as a nesting site.

NBC also recommend having an area of land set aside from the working area that can be utilised by ground nesting birds, so they have an alternative area to nest. NBC will provide consultancy in habitat creation for whatever species are present on the site.

For further details on NBC ground nesting bird programs, please call Mark Hudson on , and we will be happy to assist. Please remember that NBC have a 100% success record in this specialist field, and it is not just a case of running dogs and flying birds of prey, as you are likely to delay your project with huge cost implications, as well as break the law and damage your reputation. Our reputation is our guarantee.

Could your staff spot this ringed plover from 5 metres, never mind when it has flown away 30 minutes ago?

No? Well Fritzi can!

NBC Bird & Pest Solutions,

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