The BBC in Rome put out a story yesterday about an Italian Airport that is using a golden eagle to control pests near their run way. It seems that the airport in Bari, Italy has been having problems with foxes hunting for rodents near the run way. The airport has even been forced to close the run way on several occasions due to fox activity. Instead of using man made ultrasound, poison, or traps the airport has turned to a natural form of pest control.
Cheyenne a 6 month old golden eagle has been training and is about to start her duties patrolling the airport. The hope is that the fox will be afraid of the large raptor and keep clear of the airport. To read the full story click here.
We have quite a few predators hanging out around the Minneapolis airport and most of them are not in the men's bathroom. We have had a snowy owl around the airport again this year, although there have been no reports of sightings since around New Years, as well as several red-tailed hawks in the area.
Using raptors as pest control is not a new idea and has actually been gaining some popularity. In many parts of the US farmers erect owl boxes hoping to lure cavity nesting barn owls to take up residence. The barn owls are preferred because they have a higher metabolism then most owls and so they must hunt more frequently in order to feed themselves. This means more rodents that are removed from the fields.