Residents passing by or living near the Cape Town Stadium might spot a few birds of prey doing the rounds at the popular sporting venue as the management has decided to employ hawks to help deal with unruly pigeons.
Over the years, a large number of pigeons have decided that the stadium is their home and are causing new challenges due to their particularly messy nesting habits and their inclination for dropping faeces on stadium chairs.
Cleaning up behind pigeons is a time consuming and costly job as a substantial amount of money is used to keep the venue clean.
It costs roughly R22 000 to clean just the top level of the stadium before an event, using 20 workers and three days said Lesley de Reuck, CEO of the Cape Town Stadium while speaking to Business Insider.
If that wasn’t enough, the pigeons have also developed a liking for the stadium’s rye grass-seed, at one point eating as much as 70% of the seed laid on the pitch.
As an alternative to poisoning the pigeons, Morticia the hawk will scare the pigeons, saving roughly R100 000 a year on the clean up duty alone.
She is an employee of the Falcon Bird Pest Control and forms part of their raptor force owned by birds of prey enthusiast, Hank Chalmers.
According to Chalmers, the pigeons are immediately aware of the presence of a bird of prey, unsettling them during their nesting times and encouraging them to move elsewhere.
While this concept may seen strange on South African soil, it is often used overseas in other stadiums and even airports.
Deploying these birds of prey is a new more eco-friendly technique, allowing the pigeons to be scared away rather than killed and ensuring dangerous poisons are not left behind after the pigeons are killed off.