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To keep Pigeons Away The San Francisco Metro System Hires Raptors

By Chinelo Eze
11 August 2022   |   1:16 pm
Riders of the San Francisco Bay Area metro system in California may have seen a new station guard recently. Pac-Man, a 5-year-old Harris's hawk, has occupied the perch at El Cerrito del Norte station and is keeping an eye out for pigeons rather than fare-evaders. Pac-handler Man's Ricky Ortiz, a falconer with Falcon Force, started…

Riders of the San Francisco Bay Area metro system in California may have seen a new station guard recently.

Pac-Man, a 5-year-old Harris’s hawk, has occupied the perch at El Cerrito del Norte station and is keeping an eye out for pigeons rather than fare-evaders.

Pac-handler Man’s Ricky Ortiz, a falconer with Falcon Force, started patrolling the station with the bird this summer under a contract with BART to keep pigeons at bay and shield riders from pigeon poop.

The squad patrols three days a week, beginning their day at the entrance on the ground floor before surveying the platforms and chasing away any pigeons that could be perched on ledges or on the station’s interior scaffolding.

Ortiz has thus far observed a significant difference.

He said, “There was probably less than half of the pigeons here after the week of us flying.”

Ortiz makes an effort to prevent Pac-Man from devouring the pigeons or neighbourhood rodents by providing him with food throughout the day to keep his feathered companion content at work.

Pac-Man has until now proven to be popular among commuters.

To convey to her family, rider Bethany Campbell, 43, took a selfie with Ortiz and Pac-Man.

Campbell stated, adding that although she was initially alarmed by the hawk, she now finds it to be fantastic.

“We have family back in the Midwest and the south and they think everything in the Bay Area is weird, so the idea of having birds here for bird eradication is just funny to them.”