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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.