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Falcons offered as solution for frustrated rural Langley residents

Residents in rural Langley and Aldergrove have been frustrated for years about the noise of bird cannons which farmers use to protect their crops.

The cannons are among several noisy and irritating devices farmers employ to scare away crows and seagulls.

One of the more recent introductions is a screecher which is used by mink farmers to keep rats at bay.

Both cannons and screechers are irritating to humans, said south Aldergrove resident Terry Sheldon.

If something isn’t done “we are going to have a war (between residents).”

On Monday, Sheldon presented Township council with a solution: falcons.

Sheldon explained that the mere presence of falcons is enough to frighten birds that can devour blueberry and other crops.

Sheldon, who recently returned from Cuba where the birds of prey are used to keep smaller birds away from hotels, said that cannons are proving costly not only to the peace of residents, but to businesses.

The cannons can also be devastating to horses, he said.

He asked council for support in bringing to Langley three falcons and a falconer from Cuba.

“I’m not doing this for money,” he told council.

“I don’t need the money. We’ve got to do something about these cannons and screechers.”

He said that cannons are blasted from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

One falcon can control 20 acres, and falcons are being used to keep seagulls from a Vancouver landfill, he told council.

“It works very well,” he said.

In a later interview, Sheldon said that the noise of screechers is “horrible” and eagles, which used to scare away birds, have been sent packing by crows which have now become the number 1 bird in the area.

He told council that the Cuban falconer would train people here.

Councillor Bob Long’s motion that staff explore Sheldon’s suggestion will be discussed at the March 26 council meeting.

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