'Tony Hawk' helps Arizona company remove problematic pigeons from homes
PHOENIX - All the growth in the Valley has created a new problem for homes and businesses: a pigeon problem. And while there are a number of ways to get rid of pigeons, an Arizona company believes the most effective approach involves leveling the playing field.
"This is ‘Tony Hawk’, he's the one that started the company, he's the founding father, as you can say," said Bladen Benson, owner of Desert Kings Falconry.
Benson introduced his "head hawk in charge." His company specializes in removing invasive birds and other rodents from a home or a business. Here, "Tony Hawk" is on the hunt for pigeons.
"Fly up, catch those pigeons and bring them back down and clear these houses of their pigeon issue," said Benson.
It's a service that Benson believes is unique to the Valley. His cast of falcons are trained to use stealth and precision to catch these intelligent birds.
"He's been here a few times, so he knows what's going on," said Benson. "Some people like to think, ‘oh that’s a dumb pigeon over there,' but they're actually really smart.
They're not just "rats with wings" but Benson says they can also be a nuisance.
"Up to 30 different diseases in human beings, their poop is actually acidic, so it can eat away at concrete over a period of time as well as metal. They're destroying AC units, causing hundreds, if not multiple thousands of dollars in property damage for some of these homes."
In some cases, traps can do the trick, but after pigeons figure it out, he says the most effective deterrent are the hawks.
"But if I catch that pigeon, and remove that pigeon, that home or that commercial property is now clear of that pigeon. It will never come back, and it takes a long time for other pigeons to move back in."