Prague district to deploy falcons to take care of pigeon problem

Prague 14 is raising two young peregrine falcons to hunt and scare off pigeons that have been overpopulating in the district. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 08.07.2023 15:37:00 (updated on 08.07.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague has long suffered with large crowds of pigeons, but one district is taking a predatory approach to control their population. The City of Prague 14 is currently training two young peregrine falcons to hunt pigeons and prevent them from taking up residence in the district.

City officials note that the falcons are a natural and more efficient solution to controlling pigeons populations in the city. Hostile architecture such as nets or spikes on windowsills have proven ineffective.

"We managed to get two falcons, at the moment still young ones, which, if everything goes well, will contribute to the regulation of the pigeon population in our district in the future," says Prague 14 Mayor Jiří Zajac in a press release.

"We have a lot of greenery here, so I believe they will like it in Prague 14."

Zajac, who initiated the project, says that the spikes and nets that the city has previously used to control its pigeon problem have ultimately proven ineffective. The falcons, a natural predator of pigeons, will both hunt the birds within the city district, and scare them away from it.

"Sooner or later, the pigeon nets break. The spikes, which are supposed to prevent birds from polluting roofs, balconies, or alcoves, only work until the pigeons manage to settle into the space between them," the mayor adds.

The young falcons, who are brothers about two months old, are currently being cared for by falconer Jan Šimánek. As they mature, he will train them to hunt within the city district.

“Gradually, gaining a certain degree of tameness leads to cooperation with the falconer," Šimánek notes.

"After mastering these first and necessary steps, special falconry training will follow at the Doubravka Lookout Tower and in the adjacent open area for a minimum of 35 days. The falcon is a high-flying predator, so the hunt itself is preceded by a climb to a height and followed by a diving attack on its prey."

Residents and visitors in the area will be able to see the falcons being trained at the Klánovice – Čihadla park this summer, but the falconer requests avoiding contact and giving them plenty of space.

“If there is an encounter during training and people see a falcon hunting or sitting on the ground with prey, it is important that they maintain a safe distance," says Šimánek. "Of course, this also applies to dogs. Otherwise, the training could be thwarted and the falcons might be scared away."

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