Thursday, March 27, 2008

Kings of the runway

Being close to the sea means that there are a lot of gulls in the area of San Javier Airport. When one wrecked the engine of a Boeing 737; the hawks were brought in.

Now there are ten of these magnificent birds that are looked after by Fernando Brizuela and Javier Gallardo, two young Sevillian falconers who have worked at the airport for 12 years.

The youngest birds fly for about three quarters of hour each day and the oldest about ten minutes. To control their flight an emitter placed is placed in one of the legs of the hawk which transmits to a receiver in the vehicle of the falconers.

These hawks can live for 25 years working until they are 15. Although they start at two months, they are only effective once they are a year old. The falconers try to ensure that the birds do not hunt while they are in flight because their purpose is to dissuade other birds not eat them!

Since their arrival there has only been one further mishap and that was on a rainy day when the birds couldn't fly.

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