New business takes flight

Amber Nicholson
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It took Falconer Jamie Stride of Bedeque about four months to train his red-tailed hawk. Stride recently created Island Falconry Services, a new bird control business on P.E.I.

BEDEQUE - Jamie Stride of Bedeque has brought a new business to P.E.I and his star employee is a three-pound eastern red-tailed hawk.

During his many years of employment in the pest control industry, Stride noticed a trend in the increased number of Islanders who were having issues getting rid of birds on their property.

"You run into a lot of bird problems and it's always very difficult or very expensive to control these situations because of the vast area birds occupy and the fact that they are usually high up. Materials needed to get rid of them were hard to install and also very expensive," Stride explained of what sparked his interest for his new company. "That's when I started doing a little bit more research."

All it took was a demonstration of the art of falconry and he was hooked. He said from that moment he knew he wanted to bring falconry to P.E.I.

"It's using a natural approach and it's a very, very effective method. There is no trapping, no shooting, you are just letting nature take its course," Stride said.

After attending falconry school in Quebec and obtaining a permit from the Department of Wildlife, Stride was ready to start his journey of becoming a full-time professional falconer.

He built a provincially-inspected 12 by 24-foot barn and purchased a large female eastern red-tailed hawk.

Stride's five-year-old son named the hawk Seven because she will be the seventh member of the Stride family.

Over a period of four months Stride dedicated every day to training Seven.

"When you get a fresh hawk they're very nervous, they have a wild nature to them still and you have to break them in," said the falconer. "I had to get her used to me talking and my movements, to let her know she's not in danger."

Stride began to build his bond with Seven by walking into her barn, leaving her food and walking out. Once she learned that Stride was not a threat  he began to increase their connection by holding the food in a glove on his hand over the perch. From there he slowly began to take his hand away from the perch so that the hawk would have to leave her perch and land on the glove in order to get food.

"That is the hardest part. Once they get from the perch to the glove everything accelerates. Then you get them to fly to the glove," Stride said.

By the end of four months, Stride was able to take Seven outside, let her fly free and have her return to him using a particular call or food.

Stride says one of the most important things in falconry is the hawk's diet.

"You have to try and mimic their natural diet as much as possible. People think we starve them so they'll hunt but we feed them every day," said Stride. Seven's diet includes rodents, chicks, beef heart and other small animals.

Stride recently expanded his business with the purchase of a falcon, which is in its third week of training. The hawk will be effective against birds such as seagulls and geese and the falcon will be effective against crows and pigeons.

Island Falconry Services opened for business last month and has already helped many Islanders rid themselves of the headache that comes with pesky birds.

IFS welcomes all inquiries and requests by phone at 887-2681 or via email at falconrypei@gmail.com.

 

Organizations: Department of Wildlife, Island Falconry Services

Geographic location: Quebec

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Recent comments

  • Barbara Weeks
    December 31, 2010 - 20:31

    WOW, good for you! I've had the priviledge of working with these amazing birds and they are a wonder to watch!

  • Robin
    December 31, 2010 - 20:08

    Great story! Best of luck with your new venture, Jamie!

  • richard leard
    December 31, 2010 - 12:43

    i wish you the best of luck with your new venture, being able to work with beautiful birds like that would be a great way to make a living. as to Bedeque resident, what makes these birds any more dangerous than the wild predatory birds that we have on the island now? seems to me that a trained bird would be safer, wouldn't it? why is it that every time there is a good story like this some idiot has to spurt jibberish like that, are people so scared that their neighbor might get ahead of them or like their job more than them that they got to bash everything good they read? we have a good reputation around the world as kind, generous, friendly, and polite islanders, why can't we treat each other the same way?

  • Bedeque born but now away
    December 31, 2010 - 12:42

    I cannot believe such negativity from bedeque resident. Wow! If you had any experience with large breed dogs you would realize how erroneous you are. Any animal is only as reliable as their training. As for Falconry, it is my understanding that if the falcon is not trained, they simply fly away the first chance they get. Where I live there are several Falconists who are kept busy during spring, summer, and fall, and I have not heard of any mishaps with small domesticated animals. Ever. Congratulations Jamie. I hope this works out for you and your family and people realize the advantage of your services sooner rather than later.

  • Santa
    December 31, 2010 - 09:27

    Charlottetown could sure use some of that crow control!!

  • Bedeque resident
    December 31, 2010 - 08:13

    So when these birds decide to swoop down and pick up someones cat or small dog...what then??? You are going to endanger peoples pets so that you can control a few birds that happen to fly in someones lawn...don't bother to say it will never happen, its the same thing as someone having a pitbull or rotti or any kind of dog for that matter, you NEVER know what an animal of any kind will do!!

  • intresting
    December 31, 2010 - 08:00

    way to go. I know who I'll call if i have any problems with any pest. It's all so great to hear about some one doing some thing that wont hurt the enviroment.