COULD FALCONRY PROVIDE CHEMICAL-FREE BIRD CONTROL TO NC FARMERS?


Photo: tiarescot/CC-by-2.0

The North Carolina Falconers Guild will offer a falconry apprentice workshop on August 23rd at the Centennial Campus Center for Wildlife Education in Raleigh. Participants will learn about the laws governing ownership of raptors and will get an introduction to how to care for and train birds of prey. The workshop can serve as the first step towards obtaining a falconry license, however participants will still need to complete a two year apprenticeship with an experienced falconer before they can have their own bird.

Falconry is often considered a time-consuming hobby, but in California, Oregon and Washington state, falconry has become a more sustainable way to keep birds off of berry crops. Traditionally, farmers have dusted berry crops with federally approved chemicals or expensive mesh netting to keep birds the birds off of them. While berry crops finish ripening, trained falcons patrol the fields, scaring away other fruit-stealing birds.

No one in North Carolina currently currently offers Falconry-based pest bird control, but with a growing number of strawberry and blueberry farms in the state, the time is ripe for someone to turn this challenging hobby into a sustainable business.

Details about the Raleigh workshop can be found here.

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