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Animals 2015, 5(2), 214-225; doi:10.3390/ani5020214

The Efficiency of an Integrated Program Using Falconry to Deter Gulls from Landfills

1
Groupe de Recherche en Écologie Comportementale et Animale, Département des sciences biologiques, Université du Québec à Montréal, P.O. Box 8888 Station Centre-ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3P8, Canada
2
Falcon Environmental Services, P.O. Box 1018, St-Lazare, QC J7T 2Z7, Canada
Present Address: Comit
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Kate Littin, Trudy Sharp and Ngaio Beausoleil
Received: 7 January 2015 / Revised: 20 March 2015 / Accepted: 1 April 2015 / Published: 10 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Welfare Dimensions of the Management of Unwanted Wildlife)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [5389 KB, uploaded 10 April 2015]   |  

Simple Summary

We evaluated the long-term effect of an intensive integrated program based on falconry to deter gulls, mostly ring-billed gulls (Larus delawarensis), from a landfill. Gulls were counted at different periods each day, and the annual sum of the maximum count at any observation period each day declined from over 1.1 million to only 20,300 during the 20 years of the study. This could not be explained by a decline in the local breeding population that remained relatively large throughout this period as determined in a concomitant study. The effectiveness of the falconry program was also confirmed by tracking individual birds fitted with GPS data loggers. The tagged gulls stopped less often and spent less time at the landfill with falconry than at another one where a selective culling program was conducted. We conclude that the use of an integrated program using falconry, which we consider more socially acceptable than culling, can be effective in deterring gulls from landfills.

Abstract

Gulls are commonly attracted to landfills, and managers are often required to implement cost-effective and socially accepted deterrence programs. Our objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of an intensive program that integrated the use of trained birds of prey, pyrotechnics, and playback of gull distress calls at a landfill located close to a large ring-billed gull (Larus delawarensis) colony near Montreal, Quebec, Canada. We used long-term survey data on bird use of the landfill, conducted behavioral observations of gulls during one season and tracked birds fitted with GPS data loggers. We also carried out observations at another landfill located farther from the colony, where less refuse was brought and where a limited culling program was conducted. The integrated program based on falconry resulted in a 98% decrease in the annual total number of gulls counted each day between 1995 and 2014. A separate study indicated that the local breeding population of ring-billed gulls increased and then declined during this period but remained relatively large. In 2010, there was an average (±SE) of 59 ± 15 gulls/day using the site with falconry and only 0.4% ± 0.2% of these birds were feeding. At the other site, there was an average of 347 ± 55 gulls/day and 13% ± 3% were feeding. Twenty-two gulls tracked from the colony made 41 trips towards the landfills: twenty-five percent of the trips that passed by the site with falconry resulted in a stopover that lasted 22 ± 7 min compared to 85% at the other landfill lasting 63 ± 15 min. We concluded that the integrated program using falconry, which we consider more socially acceptable than selective culling, was effective in reducing the number of gulls at the landfill. View Full-Text
Keywords: anthropogenic food; bird control; culling; falconry; gull; landfill; Larus delawarensis; pest management; scaring anthropogenic food; bird control; culling; falconry; gull; landfill; Larus delawarensis; pest management; scaring
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Thiériot, E.; Patenaude-Monette, M.; Molina, P.; Giroux, J.-F. The Efficiency of an Integrated Program Using Falconry to Deter Gulls from Landfills. Animals 2015, 5, 214-225.

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