A hard days work.

Avian Pest Control.

Well a little something different for this post and it comes about after the great weekend I had at the Heritage Festival with Gary & Jen Baxter from Backwoods Falconry.

Gary is an old friend and for several years now I have taken photos of their Falconry Display at the Heritage Festival and Helped Gary the year everyone remembers when one of his birds spent 3 days in Bridge street refusing to come down and go home. Don’t think Gary will ever live that one down as people where still reminding him about that this year. This year I got to help out with the display and fly one of the birds across Cathedral Square to Gary during his display.

As many of you may or may not know Gary’s Birds are all working birds.  When not at shows and if you are up and about in the early hours you might just see Gary and one of his Falcons in Peterborough or London, in fact he  could be anywhere round the country doing pest control.

Well on the Monday evening after the Heritage festival I had a Facebook message from Gary followed by a phone call and at 2am Tuesday morning Gary picked me up in his van to let me have an insight into his working day. Now I know there are some people that think his day is easy but as someone myself, who over the years has worked with animals, mostly Horses and Hounds I know it can be a 24/7 job more often than not. Without wanting to bore you all, I left Peterborough with Gary at 2am Tuesday morning, first job just the other side of Tower Bridge in London, we did over 300 miles driving 7 jobs last job was in Peterborough clearing Seagull nests and eggs off a warehouse roof top, and I walked into my house around 6:30pm. Now I was home but Mr G still had to go home feed and check all his birds and get ready for the next day before he could think about putting his feet up.

During the day I found out more about Pest control using Falcons and saw something pretty amazing on top of a warehouse roof to in Peterborough.

“Hmm what’s this small green box Gary? I asked

“A device that makes a noise to scare the gulls.” Was the answer.

“Gary looks like someone has been up here vandalizing it.” 

“No Rupert that’s the gulls. These companies pay lots of money for these gadgets and that’s the result best was is Fly a Falcon climb up here destroy the nests and eggs.”

Looking across the roof tops on another warehouse I could see and hear 3 of these green gadget and sat all around them, yes you guest loads of Seagulls if the gadgets had been playing music instead of a noise the Gulls would have had the very own Glastonbury on a roof top.

Watching Gary and his birds at work and helping out myself was fantastic and after helping at the Heritage festival with the display Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday, this was a bonus. The birds at work are even more amazing than in the demonstrations at events as I stood either in the streets watching them or on Roof tops with some fantastic views which I hope to get some photos taken in the near future.

The Bird in the photo above, with Gary is a year old and it was his first day at work. Gary certainty seem to be pleased with his progress.

Backwoods Falconry is a small family run business with over 40 years of experience and offering a wide range of Avian pest control management services from Seagull & Pigeon Control to Fox and Mole Control Services. The also offer Dear and Rabbit management services, and this is during the week. Weekends, as those of you that went to the Heritage Festival saw is taken up by events where the birds normally do 2 x 330 min displays showing in an educational was how a Falconer works but the display is historical as it is base round a Falconer from the Victorian ages. Also Photographic day can be arranging via the Backwoods Website I will put a link at the bottom of this blog.

The next Falconry display from Backwoods Falconry will be on the 23rd & 24th of July at the Festival of the Forties at Grounds Auction Site, Knights End Road, March, PE15 0YR.

Now as I pointed out Gary and Jens display is normally base round Victorian ages but During World War 2 Peregrine Falcon where used to intercept enemy carrier pigeons conveying messages.  Early in 1942, following sightings of pigeons disappearing towards France the new Army Pigeon Service Special Section set up an airborne net of Peregrine Falcon over the Scilly Isles. Britain’s new anti-pigeon force would patrol for two hours at a time over the islands off the Cornish coast. The falcon flying high above the Scillies could watch not only a part of one island, but the whole group, and any pigeon flying over them would be attacked. The airborne Carrier Pigeon threat was believed to be the pet project of SS chief Heinrich Himmler – who was known by British intelligence as an avowed pigeon fancier.

Well that’s it for this blog hope you enjoyed the read and please follow the links below to Backwoods Falconry website if you require any of their services or the link to Festival of the Forties website if you wish to visit the show. I hope this has been informative and a very small insight into a day out with a Master Falconer and working birds of prey and a little history thrown in as well.


Backwoods Falconry Website