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Monday, August 10, 2015

Monday, Last Day

I walked in pre dawn, saw only one pigeon.  A lone pigeon sitting on the 5th floor balcony above the spa.  I chased it away.  The hawks are in their enclosures and they will be set out.  For it it cleaning day.  I am getting my supplies in order and will be departing Tuesday, hopefully pretty early. I set the hawks out, hosed off their enclosures.  Then started to get my equipment organized and sorted for packing.  I was planning one last flight for the evening.  Then packing the hawks and their equipment.  But was stopped by a late rain storm.  So, I rolled up the hose, put perches up and away and arranged and organized.   Tuesday, I got up early, did laundry, got the hawk equipment packed first then my personal effects (and traveling office).  I left at 10:45 and got home safely by 5:30.  

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sunday Morning

I got up pre-dawn.  I enjoy my pre-dawn walks and make a point of doing them where ever I am at.  I walked about and I so glad to see again no pigeons roosting on the hotel.  Just the two on the south side of the vacant restaurant.  I got ready for the day, had a light breakfast.  Moved the hawks out to their area at the restaurant.  

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Saturday Morning and evening

Saturday a warm day, and will again be sunny.  I did my pre-dawn walk and found no pigeons on the hotel.  Around the back of the restaurant on the south side, I saw two pigeons sitting on a light fixture.  They are probably the ones I've been moving from the awing the past two weeks.  I chased them away.  I did another walkabout the buildings, but no other pigeons were sighted.  It was hot and I stayed as much as I could in the cool to keep from overheating.  The hawks were misted all day and I was checking them frequently and moving them about to keep them in the shade. I was also organizing my equipment for departure on Tuesday.  Mid-afternoon was quiet, for it was too hot for the pigeons to sit in the sun on any of the buildings.  As four o'clock approached.  I noted some milling about, and I saw that this group had several pigeons with a lot of white markings.  I noted that also they were not flying as coordinated as the morning pigeons.  This group is one of the local lofts, being released for afternoon flights.  They stayed a few moments on the hotel, but departed quickly before I could chase them away.  After their departure, the feral pigeons started streaming in just a few at a time.  I also saw them east across the highway, milling about at the church field behind the all glass office building.  It was shady there so I think they were also keeping cool, out of the sun.  After dinner, I had the hawks ready to fly, and noted approaching rain clouds.  I waited a bit longer, but the feral pigeons landed east across the highway on the power lines behind the 24 hour restaurant.  And stayed there quite a while.  I waited the weather out, there was a light rain starting.  I saw lightening to the north and heard distant thunder.  The pigeons were apparently staying across the highway for the time being showing no interest in moving and I decided to pack up a bit early.  I had packed up the hawks, and was in my truck just starting to park,  and I spotted the Cooper's hawk again hunting pigeons at rooftop level.  The few on the vacant restaurant flushed and the hawk had missed.  The hawk then flew west into the neighborhood out of site.  I thought, thank you hawk for helping me out this evening.   

Friday, August 7, 2015

Friday Morning

On the pre-dawn walk no pigeons were found roosting on any of the property.  I got the hawks out after breakfast, did paperwork and now changing into my 'cleaning clothes'.  It cleaning day and I always change into the prior day's clothes for that task.  I get very wet and soggy, even though I put on a vinyl apron to keep as dry as I can.  But, on hot days, I don't mind getting wet anyhow.  Hawks will be out and misted by mid-morning.  I got the enclosures extra clean, scrubbing with a scrub brush that I had purchased.  Sometimes spraying is just not enough.  I set the hawks out, they were misted and I noted that when the hawks are weathered outside, pigeons in the area are far fewer.  It was sunny and hot so I made sure the hawks were kept comfortable all day long.  I waited for the evening to arrive and after dinner, I flew all 4 of the hawks over the pool area, one at a time.  As with other sunny days, I stay out until the sun is quite low in the sky, just getting ready to set.  I then put the hawks up and put them in my truck for the night.  

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Wednesday, Thursday Morning

Wednesday was quiet, and I am getting low on hawk food, so I went to the local grocery store for some supplemental hawk food (turkey legs and wings) to make sure I do not run out.  I feed a mixture of turkey and whole animal, for proper nutrition.   I also made a list of forgotten supplies, and I stuck to the list and got the things I should have brought when I left.  These items will always be packed, ready to go for my next assignment, for this type of work often has short notices.  Same with my attire,  I keep it clean, pressed and ready for travel.  The hawks were flown after dinner by the pool area.  I flew all four, one at a time,  I had a lot of interest from the guests,  and enjoyed explaining the concept to them.  The hawks did very well, not wandering off, sticking close.  For traffic to the East and the power lines to the West are a big concern.  The pigeons that were thinking about hanging around moved on east across the street.  I waited until just about sundown  The hawks were also wanting to go to bed and were flying around their enclosures.  Hawks do not like to be out at night, for owls are their natural enemies.  I overcome this fear by having their enclosures always around on a cart.  With the perch illuminated on both the T post and inside the enclosures. The do not end up roosting in a high  tree in the dark, instead they seek the safety of their enclosures.   They are much more confident that they are safe with this method and will come in after dark.  I wrapped things up and ended the day.

Thursday morning, with pre-dawn walks, I found one lone pigeon on the 5th floor light fixture.  I chased it away and it moved on.  I spoke briefly with security detail on the west side.  I  then finished my survey and found no pigeons roosting on the south side restaurant awing frame.  I think that as an inexpensive perch deterrent.  Rows of black colored cable ties, about 8 inches long wrapped around the awning framework with the spacing about ½ to 1 inch would be something to try.  For the next groups of pigeons in the area will be looking for places to roost as well.  I set the hawks out, and it is a hot day, so I made sure the misters are on.  As I was setting up the pigeons were flying about and I noticed several with lots of white on their plumage.  I've not noticed these whitish pigeons before.  So a loft is mingling with the feral pigeons in the area.  Then I noted more evasive flying and above them was the local Cooper's hawk.  She tried for several stragglers, but had lost her element of surprise and was out flown.  She flew east across the highway down into the trees.  The pigeons landed on the South side of the hotel and  I proceeded to chase them away to across the street. One of the largest pigeon clubs in the US is in Broward County  Later in the day, it was only a few pigeons about, so it was slow, and warm, and breezy so I started organizing for departure to save time later.  I set the hawks up in their boxes after dinner and waited a while, for the sunny day kept the pigeons away for about an extra hour.  I waited until they were moving into the area and started flying the hawks one at a time across the pool area.  On sunny days the west restaurant side is vacant of pigeons, just too hot and uncomfortable there.  I flew the hawks until sunset, packed them upand called it a day.  As I was driving back to park, one of the employees needed a ride to pick up a part for his car.  A heater hose.  The one he purchased did not fit.  I took him to the parts store, but they did not have the correct one.  We went back, I told him to bring the broken hose, for there are several heater hoses (5) on his model car.  The clerk at the store confirmed that another local store had the parts in stock, we went there about 5 minutes prior to closing and he got the part to his car.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Tuesday evening, Wednesday morning

Tuesday, I sat the hawks out later in the day due to expecting landscaping to be there trimming.  They were misted, and I set up for evening flights.  I noted that mid-day few pigeons are about, especially when it is sunny, just too hot for them to sit out.  Lowered humidity made is  more pleasant day, and winds/breezes helped too, A perfect beach day.  Also, I was glad that evening rains were not coming in to stop my evening flights.  I flew the hawks one at a time over the pool, it is highly visible to the pigeons across the street, and they do not come over when the hawks are about.  I kept them out until after 7:00 and when I ran out of hawk food for them.  I then put them away and wrapped up the day. I moved the bath pans, and perches, expecting landscaping to be out on Wed morning.  

Wednesday, got up prior to dawn and did my walkabout.  I am glad to say I saw no roosting pigeons on the hotel nor the south side awing of the restaurant.  After breakfast, I was moving the hawks out and saw a groups of pigeons head over the hotel.  I noted one was all white, so I know now that many of these birds are un-banded loft pigeons.  I called one local pigeon loft in the area and asked if it was one of their birds.  Their pigeons were in at the time.  I told them that the hawks will not be flying at that time.  So they were letting their pigeons out for a morning flight.  This loft have some with a lot of white on them but I've never seen them in the hotel area.  I then set the hawks on the tables in their enclosures.  For this is cleaning day.  I change into the prior day's clothes, for cleaning.  Then change into the current day's clean attire so I don't look so wilted.  Also, maintenance was going to check for active nests on the lower and upper buildings and remove them.  This will really help discourage the pigeons from using the area.  I also noted that the standing water on the roof of the main laundry (guest linen) and pigeons drink and bathe in the puddles.  Same thing with the standing water around the water chiller.  I often see pigeons fly up when I walk through there.  

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Monday and Tuesday, am

Monday I had the hawks out, cleaned their enclosures.  I had a shorter day because of my reservation at   I also put the hawks in my room to make sure they are comfortable, for it it hot and I usually wait  until it is cooler after 6:00 to put them away.  I took the shuttle to SeaWatch.   A throughly enjoyable experience.  The decor is beautiful, classic Florida style.  The restaurant has lovely views, which are in demand by customers so reservation are strongly recommended for a good view while you dine.  It as Monday, a slower day and I was glad I picked a slower day.  For I was told the place is very, very busy.  I had grouper, roasted mixed veggies, and black bean soup.  And their  fantastic bread as well.  My waiter (Pete) was attentive (not too much though) and very knew the menu and drinks.  I walked to the beach afterwards on a calm day, seas were quiet.  I saw a lone woman in the water, enjoying an evening swim.  I was glad to see that the turtle nests are marked with ribbon and stakes.  I saw lots of wildlife tracks in the sand, mice, birds, etc.  I also saw a lone house cat wandering the beach as well.  I hope that they have a 'cats indoors' initiative in the community to help our small coastal wildlife survive the decimation of outside and stray cats.  I came back and went to bed quite early.

Tuesday a.m.  I got up and walked the area at dawn.  I noted right at sunrise the pigeons from the 24hour restaurant heading into the neighborhood.  I followed them to a house where they were sitting on the power lines, awaiting breakfast.  Their activity strongly hints that these are loft pigeons.  For they were flying down a few at time into the yard, presumably to eat food set out for them.  I took some photos, walked a bit longer back to my room.  I waited to get the hawks out after 9:00.   For I was expecting landscaping to come and trim the weathering area at the restaurant.  I did not see any sign of landscaping arriving, so they are sitting in their enclosures until I am certain landscaping does not need to be in the area.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Sunday and Monday

Hot, sunny, threat of rain all day.  I set the hawks out, then misted them.  I was prepared to get them flown again and kept them out until I saw rains coming in an lightening.  I then put them safely away until the rains stopped a while later.  When the rains cleared, I set them out again, but heavy winds and another rain storm was coming in.  If it is a 'green radar' indicator, I keep the hawks out, but the radar showed orange and yellow, heavy rains, lightening.  So, I was reluctantly force to hold them off .

Monday morning. cleaning day.  Got the hawks out early, for I did not see landscaping at this time.  So I felt that they were not showing today.  After getting their enclosures clean and them settled outside,  landscaping was working around the hotel.  So I am keeping close  to move them in case landscaping wants to also trim the restaurant area.  I saw the pigeons flush in number this morning, land on the hotel, and I chased them back.  Then about mid-morning, sirens went off from the fire department.  Pigeons normally do not flush, from the noise but they did this time,  And why?  The wild hawk again. I am thinking that the wild hawk is staring to make a connection between fire sirens and flushing pigeons.  The fire house has a 'horn' that sounds before the sirens on the trucks.  She is stalking the pigeons, using noise and distractions as part of cover too.  

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Saturday and Sunday

I sat the hawks out, and misted them.  It was a hot muggy day, and I made sure they were misted and comfortable.  It was a quiet day, pigeons were away most of the day, only a few had to be chased away. I check the 5th floor and saw that the roof panel had been opened.  Looked at it and saw it is a challenge, even for a younger fitter person to access the roof. Especially getting back down without falling.  I would be carrying a hawk, T post and hawk supplies.  I've done rooftop work before, but there was always a stairwell and door way where I just walk directly to the roof.  No climbing.  During the day,  I also had to watch the heat and made sure I stayed comfortable and did have to take a break in the AC for a while.  I planned to fly the hawks in the evening and I noted clouds coming in for rain, but I was determined to get them flown.  As I released the first hawk, she was impatient, bounced off my head (I always wear a hat with them). Then I saw the pigeons react to the local Cooper's hawk that came in for her evening patrols.  I had hoped to flush a pigeon for her, but the pigeons were too reluctant to be rousted when she showed up. ALL of the pigeons moved about, between my hawk flying and the Cooper's hawk hunting, they were very restless.  I did get  all four  hawks flown (across the pool area).  I flew them one at a  time, for I am concerned that I get a repeat of the hawks landing on cars on the roadway while the light is red.  Guests were intrigued by the flying and the hawks were very well behaved.  Rain started in a light mist, so I ended the day.  I went to bed quite early.  I did not get on the computer, and made sure I was rested for the next day.  

Saturday, August 1, 2015


Friday started warm.  It is a full moon and I enjoy being out pre dawn as it was setting this early morning.  I set the hawks out and housed out and  cleaned their enclosures.  The new extra long apron kept me much drier than doing without one.  The hawks sat out all day until the storms in the afternoon.  But, new nesting pigeons have been discovered.  The pigeons are nesting in very unusual places, where you would not think they would nest.  I noted some standing inside the fan vent from the laundry area where guest linens are cleaned.   There is a nest actually up inside the vent.  I looked around the area, inside and out.  There is a need to block off both the exterior fan (a circle of 1 inch welding wire that surrounds the vent from the roof flange to the roof would work).  And inside the vent as well. (again a section of same welding wire to block access by pigeons to the vent from flying through the retractable door).  That evening, before I put the hawks away at 7:30.  It was also pointed out to me by front desk staff  that pigeons were in a side vent/gutter in the front desk building.  On the east side in the center of the building, a hole,  just right for pigeons..  I rousted them out (3) at evening, and I suspect a nest in there as well with squabs.  \

Saturday morning, I was up early and a few were on the restaurant north edge (now I know it is gutter), they moved away, and the two that I've been moving about all week long were back on the 5th floor balcony.  But, they move away right after dawn.  A few landed on the south side of the hotel, but they were gone soon as well.  Hawks are staged on the north side of the restaurant for flying. 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Thursday and Friday AM

The afternoon was more quiet, few pigeons were about, except for the nesting pair and their prior offspring.  I sat the hawks out most of the day, organized my tools and supplies.  I moved the hawks about in the shade to keep them comfortable, and wrote my report on recommendations for physical modifications to the buildings to deter roosting.  That evening, pigeons were even fewer in number, and I am thinking more and more that there is a casual loft in the area where these pigeons frequent.  There may be even a farm livestock or poultry or local green space where they congregate as well.

Friday morning, Full moon, which I almost missed, I got the birds out early, to get their enclosures cleaned.  I received a new extra long waterproof apron to keep my self drier during the cleaning process, but I still have to change my clothes when finished.  But the hawks are out, their enclosures cleaned, fresh water is in their bath pans for a nice drink and bath.  

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Wednesday day and evening:  I cleaned the hawk enclosures, for I prefer to clean, Mon, Wed, and Fri. to keep the enclosures fresh and clean.  The rest of Wednesday was fairly off and on.  With the vacant time allowing me to get out of the heat of the day for a while. I try to tough it out in the heat and when I am really required to be out all day.  I wrap a layer of ice cubes in a bandana, put it around my neck and secure with an elastic hair tie.  The cool ice at the back of my neck keeps my core temperature down so I do not over heat.  Also the big hat and dark sunglasses I wear are essential to being comfortable in warm weather.  I also put a bit of argan oil on my legs and arms, to keep my clothes from sticking and they glide over my skin easily.  Makes a big difference in personal comfort in the heat of the day.  The hawks were set out and I misted them.  The pigeons DO have a nest, on the ground of the ice holding area.  I knew that there was a nest, but never expected a nest on the ground, I was surprised.  Active with 2 young.  The young are being re-homed and the nest and area will be altered and blocked off to prevent further nesting of the pigeons.  In the evening,  I would just point at the pigeons at times and they would move off across the street .  From the fifth floor, each day I look for pigeon activity on the rooftops.  The restaurant has about a half dozen pigeons hanging around there on a regular basis.  I looked across the street at the restaurant there, also there is nesting activity, is think much more so than here.  But I cannot get high enough to see what is really going on there.  The pigeons made evasive flights while I was on the 5th floor, but I could not confirm that a hawk was in the air, but I strongly suspect so.

Thursday, was fairly quiet with few pigeons in the area, but that changes so often. For there are definately private lofts in the area, some band their birds, but I think that just as many do not.  

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tuesday Evening, Wed. Morning

Tuesday was quiet, for I had help from a wild raptor.  I saw the pigeons across the street fly off with evasive tactics.  They duck and drop and rock back and forth in the air to evade avian predators.  Surely enough, above them was likely a falcon soaring around.  I did not see any flap-flap glide flying style of the Cooper's hawks so common in the area, so I am concluding it was a peregrine.  It soared north on the east side of US 1 and the pigeons settled on the hotel.  Well time to roust them out.  I got ready and when the pigeons saw me get the hawks ready to fly, they moved off.  I sat the hawks and falcons out all day long to get them to stay across the street.  The rest of the day was quiet, very few pigeons, and the winds also were stronger.  Evening, I saw only about a half dozen pigeons in the area.  Mainly focused on the vacant restaurant.  I still see them acting like there are nests on the roof, around the ductwork and venting.  I scheduled inspection of the area, removing nests will help keep them away.  Nesting behavior is an indicator of a welcoming location, so inspection and removal of any nests, active or not will be a big deterrent.  Evening flights were not done , due to winds, and no pigeons to fly after.  So, I instead stayed out with the hawks ready until around 7:30 then put them up for the night.

Wednesday,  I got up and did my walk arounds.  I am glad to say that I did not see the four pigeons sitting on the bannisters.  So, my tactics are starting to have an effect.  Then I look up and about a dozen pigeons are on the hotel.  They see me, then they moved off across the street.  They see my activities  and decide to move on.   A guest stopped as I was unloading and was upset at a lizard sitting on the center of her windshield.  It was a small, green hatchling, of the spiny tailed lizards round the area.  Cute little thing and I asked employees if they wanted a pet for their kids, no was the reply, sot into the bushes it went.  Although they are non-native, they really help keep bugs down.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Monday evening and Tuesday Morning

Monday evening.  I had the hawks out nearly all day.  The pigeons were scarce all day long, so I make sure that the hawks got a good weathering session.  It rained some, I let them sit in the first rain, but when the second rain came in I put them in their boxes.  The boxes were nice and clean so I like putting them back in clean enclosures.  I started flying after dinner, when pigeons were starting to hang around, the usual on the NW corner of the restaurant.  Then I flew over the pool to deter the 4 that stay between the buildings.  When I was flying over the pool, one hawk, the oldest landed on white Cadillac Escilade (sp) on route 1 sitting a the light.  Scary.  The vehicle moved forward a bit and I got her back safely before the light changed.  She is trained to fly to my white truck so I can see why she landed there.  I put her in her box, so she does not do that again.  I flew the other two, one at a time, all around the pool area.  And I again stayed out until after 7:00, right when the sun starts to set.

Tuesday morning.  Few pigeons were roosting,  I've scared two of the four that stay between the buildings again throwing a white washcoth at them (they thinks it's an owl coming at them with white underwings.   In the morning, there were only two, on the railing of the 5th floor.  They are hard to deter, for they move higher.   When I was setting out the hawks, I noted some on the south side of the hotel when they see me looking at them, the back off, on top of the building,  Clever game we have going here.  There were some, but not in the numbers when I first arrived, 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sunday Afternoon, Monday Morning

Sunday afternoon was cloudy, I misted the hawks, and I flew the hawks over the pool.  The pigeons are extra wary now.  They shift around even when they see just me, without the hawks.  I often just have to wave my arms or point to make them fly elsewhere.  I flew them until 7:00 p.m.  When the sun starts setting, the hawks want to go in for the evening.  But the pigeons are crafty.  They have a preference for man-made roosts, and where they like to sit during the day.  That is why they are also called rock doves, for in Europe where they originated, not only do they nest on cliffs, the cities are just another set of cliffs to them.  The other species, the collared dove, prefers trees, does not congregate in groups and they are not an issue.  They are often found in pairs with their sandy plumage and white banded tail.  Maintenance told me that they found a bird (pigeon or collard dove) that was very ill and it was humanely put down. I did not see the bird to identify and see if it was thin. It has already been disposed.    I thought it might have been the lone pigeon on the south side of the restaurant, but no.  The single pigeon is still around.

Sunday morning, I saw the usual 3 at the south side of the restaurant, and moved them away.  The four roosting on the office building and hotel are now moving when they see me.  I got half of them to move just by pointing at them, or shifting around them (I threw a wet washcloth at them), and they moved on.  I set the hawks out early, for it is cleaning day.  I wear the prior day's clothes, for I get really wet and dirty washing the boxes and mats.  That is done, I changed into fresh clothes and the hawks are out weathering.  I also turn in my work attire on Mondays as well to be laundered.

I had heard from staff that the new porch lights on the balconies are a perfect pigeon roost.  They are.  The flat top is just right.  I was thinking overnight that if the lights were turned 'upside down', the flat area would not be a roost.  Hopefully the design of the light would allow that simple modification.  Around the roof areas, I was also thinking about perching deterrents, the electro shock strips work well, and are un--intrusitve in appearance as well.  Also some of decorative flashing, soffit that would put an edge on the roof that the pigeons would find uncomfortable.  And not roost nor congregate there during the day.  I am still thinking about other modifications that can be done. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Saturday and Sunday Morning

I've set the birds out Saturday, and weathered them.  It was predicted that rain would come sometime in the day.  I watched and waited for rain, which came about 4:00.  I did my walk around the area and saw mainly pigeons across the street.  Rain persisted so I waited until 7:00 until it may stop but it did not.  Then put everyone away for the evening.

Sunday, I patrolled for roosting pigeons,  It is  the usual persistent ones.  The 3 at the south awning of rhe restaurant and the 4 by the office, but they have moved now to the 4th floor balconies.  By dawn though they are gone.  They apparently come in well after dark to roost.  For I do no see them come in prior to that time.  The lighting is what keeps them out late.  I will be flying over the pool area today, and have staged the hawks at the south end of the pool.  With signage to explain to guests what the method entails.  

Remember, photos are on Google+

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Friday evening and Saturday

Friday morning got up prior to dawn and walked about looking for roosting pigeons.  Saw the usual squabs by the west entrance.  And the three that roost under the awning on the south side of the vacant restaurant.  I moved the three, but the squabs are stubborn.  I set the hawks out for the day, got paperwork done, did my first deposit via phone, it took a while.  The hawks were set out and weathered and misted.  Then strong winds and clouds came up.  A bit of rain possible.  The umbrellas by the pool were closed, so the hawks were put away and I  walked across the street to see what the situation is at the 24 hour restaurant.  I looked around things were clean, a bit of blown about paper trash in the parking lot, an open dumpster area, but no food on the ground.  But, with the fryers, the cooking odors are noticeable.  Birds have a diminished sense of smell, and I am speculating that the cooking odors, multi hood vents on the roof.  along with the occasional discarded food items may be the attraction. For I saw nothing out of order.  I then  got some supplies, extra misters, for the hawks,  at the local hardware store.  I returned and took time to fly one of the hawks over the pool area.  I think the guests really enjoyed it.  I then waited to see how the evening roosting was going to happen.  From what I saw last night and Saturday morning, only a couple of pigeons remain,  I counted 4 total.  

Friday, July 24, 2015

Thursday evening, flights

Thursday continued:.  I saw the two fledglings sitting on a room railing.  I asked at the front desk if there was a guest still in the room, I wanted to chase them away with a hawk on the wing, but did not want to disturb the guests.  For I am such an early riser, usually up by 5:30.  But there were guests still in the room, so I had to pass on the opportunity.  The hawks sat out all day, I misted them, some, it was cloudy so they were more comfortable.  I received some supplies, footwear, boxes to replace the worn storage boxes that had broken tops.  I then flew 2 hawks behind the restaurant right at 6-7:00.  This is the time the pigeons return and I want to make sure they know that some hawks are around.  I put all of them on the cart so they would all be ready to fly if needed.  It is also much easier to move them safely from one location to another.

Friday:  I got up early, and walked the grounds, rousted three pigeons from their roost on the south side of the restaurant. I saw the fledglings at the east entrance, and they would not move without making a bunch of noise right across the rooms,  So I will have to think about that strategy to move them quietly.  

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Weathering hawks

Wednesday, July 22 ,  I set the raptors out, all 7 of them, set up the misters,  then cleaned their enclosures.  Just weathering out front where the pigeons can easily see them does make a difference.  I then did some paperwork, got an extra pair of shoes, for the single pair I had was getting wet every day from the storms, and I like to rotate my footwear to give them a chance to dry out and last longer.  By mid-morning, few pigeons were seen at the hotel.  Just the nesting pair at the NW corner of the restaurant, where it is shady all day.  The pigeons use the drain holes as an exit and entrance to the nesting area.  Two rainstorms came through,  I let the hawks sit out in one, for it was a short storm.  But I put them in at the second late afternoon storm for it was a heavier rain.

Thursday morning, Fewer pigeons are out.  This morning, I saw none across the street and less than a dozen on the hotel and restaurant.   They seem to be getting the message and not roosting in numbers at the hotel.  The remaining pigeons seems to be primarily fledglings, reluctant to leave the nesting area and driven out by their parents.  I saw two begging for food from an adult pigeon earlier in the day.
At the apartment complex behind the hotel I noticed some amber/orange lighting for the entire building.  I think a good idea to not draw insects into the area. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

All of the hawks now have perches

The perches arrived yesterday.  So I was so glad to get all of them out at once.  I misted them, the hawks, something they really enjoy.  I walked around with each of them on the fist for a while, and pigeons were far fewer, even roosting ones in the area.  I kept two pigeons from using the pool as a bath.  Simply by flicking my falcon on the wrist and making her open her wings.    Behind the restaurant, the old ice machine holding area is being screened in, for it was a favorite roosting area for the pigeons and very messy.   I flew my oldest hawk behind the restaurant and she stayed close. I made sure she was out long enough to force the pigeons across the street.  A possible thunderstorm was in the west, so I put her and the rest of the hawks back to bed.   This morning (Wednesday).  I looked across the street prior to dawn and gladly, the pigeons stayed there overnight.  Very few, less than a ½ dozen were at the hotel.  I do think that even just setting the hawks and falcons out makes a difference.  I am glad I did not put the hawks out early, for landscaping was mowing and trimming the area.  They raptors are safely sitting in their boxes to ready start their day.

Deliveries will be coming this week, extra pairs of shoes.  For I am hard on footwear, constantly getting it wet.  I want to rotate my footwear out to give them a chance to dry out.  I also ordered bins to store things in.  My old bins have cracks in them and It's just time to replace some of them.

Monday, July 20, 2015

weathered the hawks.

Warm, mid 80's humid with clouds and sun.  Glad to get the hawks out weathering today.  The landscaping company quickly cleared the brush from the weekend cuttings and the hawks were set out first and weathered until lunch, then the falcons and red-tail were set out.  I misted the hawks the early shift, by the roadway where the shade is.  When the shade shifts to the east, I then moved them by the walkway shade for the rest of the day.  I walked with the birds and the pigeons were fewer, but they were across at the 24 hour restaurant.  Around 3:00 they started coming back in small flocks.  I made sure I had the hawks out and walked with a noisy one to keep the pigeons on alert.  I then flew the oldest hawk behind the restaurant to see how the pigeons would react.  She is an old, experienced hunter.  I let her take in the structures, and let her loose for a while.  She flew back and forth for tidbits and the pigeons on the lower restaurant area moved away, and about ¾ of the pigeons on the hotel moved across the street.  Getting up high will be the best, the roof access is a manhole, not a stairway and will be a challenge.  Earlier, I made calls to the power company and got nowhere.  I then called The organization that manages power line and wildlife encounters.  I got a call back from the FPL biologist on this issue and explained that falconry abatement is a new and growing method for pest birds.  Raptors seek the highest and often the most prominent perch to scan their surroundings.  Often a power pole, which can be deadly.  I also told him that abatement falconers train their hawks to work in human dense situations.  This takes a lot of time and conditioning.  I told him that I am seeking a way for abatement falconers to minimize man related risks to raptors in abatement situations, the most dangerous is power poles that are not avian safe.  He was interested in the concept and it looks like they will come out and assess the pole situation for the safety of the hawks.  Sounds like I am making progress on this issue and am glad to get this started.  

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday, slow day

Got up early look outside to see if the pigeons were still roosting on the ledge and they were not there.  So, the hawks are starting to make a difference.  Mid morning there were a few on the hotel roof, but no more than a half a dozen.  I was made aware that there are pigeon fanciers and racers in the neighborhood and visited one.  She had about a dozen beautiful birds and was concerned that her birds would be in danger from the hawks.  The hawks do not go that far and smart pigeons know to stay above the hawks so they are not vulnerable.  Sunday I  and was sort of hoping that landscaping would come to remove the cut palms in the weathering area.  But, it is Sunday and I know they will be there on Monday to remove them hopefully as early as the light will allow them.   I could not set the hawks out, due to all of the palms there.  So, I cleaned the hawk boxes instead.  The pigeon fancier stopped by to see the hawks, (wet from being in their cleaned boxes).  I hosed every thing down, found an orange cone that was used for the decoy owl and using it for marking where the hawks are.  I have found that the 'respect the cone' works for keeping people from peering into the hawks when I am distracted.  I  also went into the open are behind the restaurant and put up the surf rod holders for the T posts for flying.  I am also going to fly in the parking area that is away from the scary power poles.  Changed out of my wet clothes to more presentable attire for the rest of the day.  

Saturday, July 18, 2015

South Florida,

I arrived Thursday, around 4:00 It was an 8 hour drive from my house due to the rain and traffic.  This time it is a smaller hotel on a main road, that has been open since the 60's. The issue is pigeons roosting, foraging and making a mess.  When I arrived there is a vacant building next door formerly an eatery.  A very nice building that could also make a great new restaurant.  The decor is beautiful.  The hotel is spotless, recently renovated and evidently very well maintained.  I got a ground story room which I prefer to quickly go to the hawks if there is an issue.   The back area behind the empty building is a great roosting area for the pigeons and they have also nested in the area.  Staff has taken steps to block off areas that make the  area attractive for roosting, but more areas need to be done.  Friday, I unpacked, set out the hawks to bathe eat and get used to the area.  I also noted power poles around the back of the hotel and staff will be having the power company shield them.  This is something that power companies are supposed to do when they get a regarding wildlife hazards from power poles. is the organization dealing with this issue.   When I was out early Saturday, I noted pigeons on a narrow ledge of the empty building.   I would recommend that a steeply angled piece of flashing, painted to match the building would keep the pigeons from roosting on that area. I personally think that flashing on ledges is a better choice than spikes.  It lasts longer, and looks better as well.    I got the hawks out and they were weathered, fed and moved around to get them used to the new venue.  Today  (saturday) I sat them out and landscaping started trimming palms.  The hawks do not like the falling branches, and the chain saws don't thrill them either.  So back in the boxes they go until landscaping is done. The activity is keeping the pigeons away too.  I am also thinking the landscaping will be trimming the trees where I am weathering the hawks too they are due for a trim. So for their safety, they are back in the boxes.   The main issue with the pigeons is the 24 hour restaurant across the road.  It is busy with pigeons every time I look over there.  I am speculating that they have a food/trash management issue that is attracting the pigeons.   

Monday, April 20, 2015

Friday, and Saturday, April 17, 18,  2015:   Hot, high 80’s and sunny.   I am into the routine of walking hawks and falcons on the glove during morning dining.  Then, flying after meals are served outside.  It was calm early , then breezes pick up.  I am also making sure that I fly at the south condo area.   Although the hawks do have to fight and deal with the strong winds on the point.  The hawks move into less windy areas such as the railings and even the furniture.  I was concerned that residents would not appreciate hawks in such areas, but keeping the grackles away is the more important goal.  I also make sure I stay in my favorite breezy and shady spot in the center beach of the area for maximum comfort for me and the hawks.  Plus it is the most effective area for the hawks to be located for maximum effect. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015.  Again having the hawks and falcons out for walkabout patrols in the morning.   I was asked to go over to the golf club to look into the goose (Egyptian) situation there.  From what I have read, escaped Egyptian geese are establishing feral colonies all over Florida and other areas.  They are smaller than Canada geese.  But issues are the same, many birds, droppings, noise, etc.  In the afternoon, the hawks were taken over to the course.  Geese are very difficult to deter, they have two factors in their favor.  Safety in numbers, for they will gang up on a predator, pinch with their bills and wing whip adversaries.  And they just take refuge in the water, where few predators can follow them (except alligators).   The two largest females were put up.  And flown back and forth.  The geese would move about, but they were not going to leave the area.  They just move into the water when threatened.  One hawk plays a ‘game’ by landing on the ground, then flying in ‘jump ups’ to the T post.  Geese would surround her.  And she would lash out at them, but no contact was made.  It was definitely a stand off, with geese just dealing with another predator in their typical fashion.    I will have to do more research on working with the geese.  I think that birds of prey would be part of the management plan, but other techniques will need to be use to deter the geese. 

Monday, Apri. 20, 2015.   Last Day.  I slept in a bit, for I was very tired.  Got up just before 6:00, set the hawks out.  Then got ready for the day.  I walked around with one falcon, then after lunch, I tried to fly 2 hawks.  Winds were picking up, rain was predicted later in the day.  So, I went to flying the youngest hawk.  She stays very close to me and is very reliable.  I relaxed at a table, making phone calls and catching up while she moved about from the T post, railings, roof, etc.  She did well.  There were few grackles at the breakfast buffet, maybe about 2.  And with the storm coming in, few grackles were out an about.  I kept the hawk up until staff started closing the beach and pool area due to the incoming storm.  I though it a good time to start getting ready to return home.  Organizing my things, getting the truck ready to be packed, cleaning the perches, patio and hosing down the golf cart. Rain started and I got wet, but no big deal.   I got every thing in the truck ready to go, organized my clothes for Tuesday’s departure.  I will have engineering help me move the camper with the tractor to a position where I can hook up the truck and easily leave the parking lot. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Helping an injured nightjar today.

Thursday, April 16, 2015:  Warm and calm early.  I walked the dogs, set up the hawks and got ready for the day.  I walk out by the main beach exit to see if any grackles have started with the dining guests.  No grackles early, even with guests dining.   I went to the hawks and started walkabout patrols with falcons on the fist.  I was told by a guest that a hawk like mine had hit  a window and was stunned.  I of course was holding one of the falcons and was limited with what I could do.  The guest covered the bird which turned out to be a night jar that had hit the window and was injured.  I saw break on the side ofthe gaping mouth on the poor bird, and it has a strange moan when handled.  I asked for a cardboard box to put the bird in.  I then took the falcon back to it’s enclosure and came back for the injured nightjar.  I noted fracture on the right side of the lower bill,   Guests helped me box up the bird, then looked for the number of the closest rehabber.  One was located in the Lighthouse Point area.  The boxed nightjar  with a note on it’s history was placed in the holding /storage area by the north lawn until my abatement shift was over.  The hawks did well, flying in the wind and keeping birds away.  As usual, families with kids bring the grackles in and I have to pinpoint the location of the hawks near there.  I stayed in my location behind the bar, using the T post as a perch for the hawks to be in the most effective position all day.  Then I put the hawks up, and proceeded to get the nightjar ready to go to the rehabber.  A guest had kindly offered to take the nightjar, but I ended up taking it to the rehabber.  I needed diesel in my truck so I combined the two trips.  The rehabber had a smart system to save time for wildlife drop offs. Rehabbing wildlife takes many long hours.   She has a nice, shady front porch.  She has a large sign with instructions to place the injured wildlife in the provided dog crates lined with blankets, or leave the box on the porch.  A form to fill out about the wildlife and her business cards as well.  I though that it was a very smart system, for she is likely a very busy person with baby season upon us.  I dropped off the night jar in the box, filled out the form and left my business cards with her.  I then fueled up my truck on the way back and did a short shopping trip as a little break as well.  Packed up my hawks when I returned for the evening.  I was glad to to see the nightjar get the care it will need. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Delightful breezy day.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015.   Warming up and a wonderful breeze.  The alarm got me up this morning, for I was worried about the lock situation all night long, walked the dog(s) I tried to get the lock to this morning, but all it did was make me late.  I set up the hawks, and went to shower for the day.  I mentioned to an employee the lock situation in my camper and how I suspect tampering.  He told me to tell security.  I did after showering.  Security met up with me after lunch to take photos of the lock and I demonstrated to him how it is not functioning.  He sad that engineering may be able to help.  Later in the day I got a call for engineering and they will look at it in the morning.   Grackles were light again, with few guests dining. I flew two hawks at a time.  But after lunch, guests with kids bring the grackles right in.  One guest told me that at the main hotel, a grackle takes fries right out of his young infant /toddler son’s hand.  That is how bold they are around kids.  An example of a similar problem was a the National Zoo in DC decades ago.  Small monkeys (I think squirrel monkeys) were free-ranging in the elephant house.  The monkeys would run right up to a child in a stroller and take their food, despite parents trying to chase them away.  The monkeys in the zoo were finally removed due to such problems and enclosed in a display.     I flew the two hawks all day long and rested the two that flew yesterday.  They did well and followed.  I finally found my favorite place to be when the hawks are up.  It is on the south main gate in the late afternoon and mid afternoon, the south side of the gate behind the bar.  I have shade, mulch to stand on for my sore feet rather than the pavement.  A great breeze to keep cool.  I can fasten the T post with ball bungees to free both my hands, I have water for the hawk and myself .  And it is just perfect.   I get to engage the guests about the technique as they enter the beach area too.    And the hawks are in perfect position for maximum effectiveness.    They flew and I made sure I went to the south beach boardwalk to be effective at the condo area.  Breezes got stronger so I was making sure the hawks were comfortable as well.  The point by the south condo area has a very strong breeze.  The hawks want to sit on the rails or furniture to keep from fighting the winds, so I keep a bit further to keep them effective without landing structures.    I then went back, had dinner.  I wen to the camper, walked the dogs, took care of my supply order and waited until it got cool enough to put the hawks up for the night.  No achy feet tonight, thanks to making sure I stand on mulch, not pavement.