Making a natural connection for a solution
Chelsea Chambers Heather James
We’ve all had a problem with pests at some point. From a pesky seagull ravaging your patio dining area to a hoard of Starlings devouring your garden harvest, we’ve all been there. Or maybe it’s just a family of foraging squirrels digging holes in the yard or tearing the stuffing out of your lawn chairs. Whatever the case may be, they just simply aren’t afraid of us. While we frantically shout and jump, waving our arms wildly, it seems that no matter how “scary” we make ourselves, they just aren’t afraid of us. Or at least not too afraid to return the next day.
But there is one thing that all squirrels and Starlings and seagulls are afraid of: hawks.
With a bit of creative ingenuity, Alyssa Ervin has been able to create a business model out of this one reality: small birds and mammals are without a doubt, undeniably, terrified of a hawk on the hunt.
What started as a family hobby has now flourished into a successful business for Alyssa and her colleagues. “When I was 12, my dad bought me a book about falconry. I had no idea there was an entire sport revolving around what I loved to do. At age 19 I got my falconry license and my first falconry bird, a Red Tailed Hawk. Training the bird came naturally to me, but the harder part was finding good fields to hunt,” Alyssa explained, excitedly.
How did The Hawk Proz get its start?
“When I started in the falconry world, I was hired on part time to fly Harris Hawks at landfills. I worked for them in Southern California flying Harris Hawks to keep the pest gulls out. Eventually I got hired on a little closer to home and that’s where The Hawk Proz was born. I had been working for another company chasing gulls and pigeons from a mall while I was pregnant. I took leave to have my baby and by the time I came back to work, the mall had fired the original company and were asking to hire me directly. So a business was created and I had my first contract just like that. Word got around and now we have served over 40 properties in California. I am looking forward to branching out in Idaho, my focus will be keeping pest birds out of agriculture—like vineyards and other crops.”
How does The Hawk Proz work?
“The birds are paired with falconer and a list of contracts assigned to them. Each month they take their birds to their contracts. They release their hawk or falcon and patrol the property. They set a perimeter by rewarding the bird when it stays nearby. The pest birds who once felt safe in such a bustling urban environment where predators are leery to go are now feeling uneasy and looking to rehome. It’s simple—nature versus nature. No nets, spikes, noise makers, just all natural.”
Alyssa is now based in Eagle, Idaho and has trained 19 new baby birds since April 2019. If you are interested in this natural, creative approach to pest control, visit the Hawk Proz website at thehawkproz.com.