WALNUT CREEK — Strolling the sidewalks of Broadway Plaza, you may not notice the absence of one unwelcome pest — pigeons.

That’s because of the vigilance of a 2-year-old Harris’s hawk named Remmy that patrols the plaza, scaring them away. Under the watchful eye of his handler Bridget Maguire-Colton, of Hayward, Remmy flies through the shopping plaza and parking structure on his broad wings scanning for pigeons.

Maguire-Colton, who works for The Hawk Pros, a company that uses hawk and falcons for pest control, is licensed to handle the large raptor.

Remmy patrols the plaza by flying up and around the buildings and through the cavernous parking garage scanning for pigeons. Upon landing, a little bell around his right leg, used as a locating device by Maguire-Colton, can be heard chiming as he explores the small nooks and crannies looking for roosting pigeons. To retrieve Remmy, Maguire-Colton blows a whistle, and he swoops down to land on her thick leather gauntlet and is offered a small treat.

Maguire-Colton, who has been using Remmy at the plaza for about a year and a half, says “It is far more effective than using (bird deterrent) spikes, fake owls or poisons that can harm a pigeon.” The pigeons are not just a nuisance, bird feces contains uric acid that is corrosive to metals. Rooftop nesting spots can also block gutters and could damage air conditioning units.

Using a hawk as pigeon abatement seems to be working. On a recent afternoon that Remmy spent working with his handler, no pigeons were sighted at Broadway Plaza. Even though Remmy enjoys chasing pigeons, the odds of him catching one are very low. However, the pigeons don’t know that, and the threat is real, as Remmy has gotten lucky a couple of times.

The Harris’s hawk, native to the Sonoran Desert, generally hunts rabbits, snakes and small animals that are on the ground and the hawks are typically not fast enough to catch a pigeon. Remmy, a formidable bird, with a nearly 3-foot wingspan, strong sharp talons and approximate weight of 1.5 pounds, is easy for a pigeon to spot, and once they have seen him they know to keep flying until they are clear of the plaza.

Remmy is also a sight for shoppers. When Maguire-Colton carries Remmy through the shopping plaza she becomes a falconer ambassador.

“You really do have to be PR plus falconer, it’s a bit of a balance,” she said.

With 12 years of experience, she can answer any questions people may have. Remmy, who was bred in captivity, will happily stand on Maguire-Colton’s arms, watching for pigeons while she answers questions. The only thing that ruffles Remmy’s feathers are dogs, large or small; they all look like coyotes to him.


About Pigeon Patrol:

Pigeon Patrol Products & Services is the leading manufacturer and distributor of bird deterrent (control) products in Canada. Pigeon Patrol products have solved pest bird problems in industrial, commercial, and residential settings since 2000, by using safe and humane bird deterrents with only bird and animal friendly solutions. At Pigeon Patrol, we manufacture and offer a variety of bird deterrents, ranging from Ultra-flex Bird Spikes with UV protection, Bird Netting, 4-S Gel and the best Ultrasonic and audible sound devices on the market today.

Voted Best Canadian wholesaler for Bird Deterrent products four years in a row.

Contact Info: 1- 877– 4– NO-BIRD (www.pigeonpatrol.ca)