Avalon hires falconers to disperse problem birds

The Avalon City Council on Tuesday, Oct. 16, approved a contract to hire a falconry service to disperse the pigeon and seagull population.

The Avalon City Council on Tuesday, Oct. 16, approved a contract to hire a falconry service to disperse the pigeon and seagull population.


No birds will be killed as a result of the contract being approved.

The council authorized City Manager Steve Hoefs to execute the contract to have On the Wing Falconry Service use raptor birds—hawks and falcons—to scare off the troublesome birds.

“Specifically, common pigeons and western gulls (“nuisance birds”) aggressively forage for food in and around the city, and their wastes have negatively affected the sanitary conditions of the city—specifically including the beaches,” wrote City Attorney Scott Campbell in his report to the council.

“The continued concentration of nuisance birds will result in an on-going adverse environmental impacts and will limit the recreational uses available to the city’s residents at parks and beaches,” Campbell wrote.

“The raptors are specifically trained such that they will not make physical contact, kill or otherwise harm the nuisance birds,” Campbell wrote.

Instead, the presence of the predatory birds will frighten off the nuisance birds, according to Campbell.

Humans have used trained birds to hunt for thousands of years. Licensed falconers have been hired by winemakers to protect vineyards and by airports to keep unwanted birds away from planes.

The contract for On The Wing Falconry Services was on the consent calendar and was not discussed by the council.

Bar ordinance passes

An ordinance allowing restaurants, bars or cafes in existing hotels in Avalon’s high-density zone was approved on the second and final reading.

Funds reallocated

The council redirected the use of $500,000 in Measure R funds. The money was originally going to be used on the Lower Terrace Road Project. However, that project has been delayed.

According to staff, Measure R monies had to be spent by June 30, 2013, and Avalon staffers weren’t sure the deadline could be met.

To avoid that problem, staff recommended that the money be reallocated to the citywide street repair project so the money could be spent by the deadline.

Commuter subsidy increased

The council approved increasing the adult commuter book subsidy from $65 to $70 per book. The subsidy is paid for annually by $600,000 from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

 Sewer inspection approved

The council gave staff the go-ahead to proceed with a lateral sewer inspection program. The city will hire Dennis Jaich as an independent consultant for the project.

Study session cancelled

A study session on golf cart permits was cancelled. The issue will come back to the council at a future date.

Avalon hires falconers to disperse problem birds