Falcons – bird scarers

10 October 1997

Falcons – bird scarers

FALCONS will be used to scare starlings away from feed sites on dairy farms as part of a pilot project in the south west funded by the Milk Development Council and Maize Growers Association.

Speaking at the Event, MGA ruminant consultant Gordon Newman said he hoped the peregrine falcons would prove effective in scaring away starlings, which were attracted to feeds such as maize, and were an environmental health hazard on south-west farms.

Other deterrents such as noise, light and dummies had not proved successful, bird proofing buildings was expensive, netting only partially effective, and sustained shooting environmentally unacceptable.

To determine whether falcons would provide effective control, the MGA seeks 16 farms, preferably within the Bridgwater/ Taunton/Yeovil/Exeter area, where migratory starlings regularly present a big concern.

"When the starlings arrive, counts will be taken and the farms allocated randomly to either treatment or control," said Mr Newman.

The eight treated herds will call out the falconer as soon as starlings appear.

He will fly a pair of falcons in turn for two consecutive days.

, and whenever the birds reappear. Starling numbers on each farm will be counted weekly. Feed samples will be taken for bacterial examination.

MGA members with a starling problem, and interested in taking part in the project, should contact the MGA on 01225-337566.

Champion cow at the South West Dairy Show was Huddlesford R F Flo (pictured), owned by J and V Barlow, Nantwich, Cheshire. Reserve was British Holstein cow Glenridge Raider Cinema which won the European Dairy Farming Event last month.

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