Keith - People of Pearson

"I was always interested in aviation and my passion for falconry started at an early age, too. I had an uncle in England who would take me out with his falconry club. If I wasn’t visiting him, I was learning from him by writing letters.As a child in Oakville, I would build traps and train the birds I caught, releasing them into the wild again in the wintertime. It was the purest form of falconry.

I combined my love for aviation and falconry into a career and today I work for Falcon Environmental Services here at Pearson. Airport falconry is a long day, from before sunrise to after sunset. We patrol the airfield, working with our birds of prey to maintain safe operations by preventing aircraft bird strikes. We use strategy and knowledge of the wildlife here, understanding how a wild bird reacts to a predator and how you need to approach them to properly clear the airfield.

Habitat management is as much part of our job as falconry. We need to be familiar with the airport’s environment, because each season brings different challenges and different species of animal. For example, if a certain plant attracts large flocks of birds, we identify that and make a plan to prevent disruptive animal activity without causing harm to them.

We get called out for special incidents, too. Maybe there’s a snake or a scorpion that stowed away in a pallet of cargo, or a bat or raccoon that’s gotten inside. Each day is different. Though we have special expertise here at Falcon, we’re just one cog in the wheel. When it comes to aviation safety, Pearson is a leader in the field and passengers should feel confident that they’re being protected here."

- Keith, Falconer, Falcon Environmental

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