Birds of prey are increasingly being used as hazing tools at airports, farms and other areas where wildlife can encounter danger or threaten crops. It's these fear-inducing qualities that also make raptors useful at oil spill sites. (Hazing is the act of scaring wildlife away from a selected area).
Having birds of prey fly between two locations (A-to-B flights) is a good way to ward off nearby wildlife. Simply carrying a raptor around on pole or glove is effective as well. Watch a Harris Hawk in action below, in a presentation provided by Charles Gailband of the Raptor Institute at Oilapalooza 2013 in San Diego.
Another popular hazing method is lure stooping. The demonstration below comes from the Teton Raptor Center.
"The key is to mix it up and use multiple techniques," said Gailband. "Mix it up and combine some of these abatement activities with other techniques being deployed: effigies, lasers, sound cannons, things like that."
The primary goal is to position to the raptor in a threatening way to discourage native birds from coming to the area. The key is to gain height or arial advantage, but you don't have to maintain it through the whole activity. Beach faces and oil spill sites don't always offer opportunities to establish height. In many cases scissor lifts and other tools can be used. "You're only bound by your own creativity," said Gailband.
You must be a master falconer to engage in abatement activities. Typically falconers are associated with hunting with live birds of prey, which is different in that hazing or abatement where your don't want any negative interaction between the raptor and other wildlife. You may use any bird permitted in the sport of falconry, but they must be captive-bred.