2007 - Volume #31, Issue #3, Page #07[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Bird Control On Wheels
Crows, especially, are juvenile delinquents with wings, according to Varner, who operates Rocking V Enterprise. He specializes in all kinds of problem wildlife control but during migratory season, is kept busy with crows, starlings and grackles.
"I work for various Wichita corporations, businesses and individuals, including town shopping malls, hospitals and the downtown areas. I haze problem birds out of these areas so they can no longer create health problems or make large messes," says Varner. "They love to congregate in huge, noisy mobs. My pickup is equipped with a propane-fired air cannon, a 100-watt siren box which has an air horn/emergency light system built in, and hand-held spotlights, just to name a few things. Some of my techniques include amplifying a recording of a distressed crow, or I do a loud, verbal, shrill predator whistle."
He's learned to recognize the birds' flight patterns, a skill necessary to "outsmart" the intelligent birds.
Varner says one key to success is using different techniques at different times of day, eliminating all predictability. Weather conditions also make a difference to what will be the most favorable action.
Sometimes he employs lasers, sometimes a pyrotechnic device, and sometimes sounds that are only audible to the birds. Varner's vast array of tools also includes some that he prefers to keep to himself until they're patented.
He often uses up to four people and vehicles at a time to direct the birds by blocking the destinations they initially prefer.
Varner often works after dark, crawling down the streets at 5 mph. By shining his spotlight on buildings, he can locate the problem birds. They can hide in trees, inside balconies, or on the top of flat, black asphalt roofs.
"Since crows are extremely smart, they are hard to control. The key is to vary your approach and know when to do it. After a while, they can just get used to the distressed crow noises, so there has to be movement, too," he explains. "Using launchers, I can shoot projectiles into the air that whistle and scream as they travel along. I also have a pistol that I fire with blank cartridges. The propane-fired air cannon also makes a loud BOOM, and sends large blue flames shooting out."
Varner's "in-your-face" approach to crows seems a strange and sometimes disturbing sight to unsuspecting people who happen to come across him. He places a sign at the back of his vehicle to caution them: "Commercial Wildlife, Bird Control, Stay back 50 feet." He also has a light bar installed for directing traffic away from his reconnaissance vehicle.
Varner calls 911 to let the operators know he's working in an area to prevent false alarms.
He once had someone pull a gun on him, and a different time, a group of men surrounded his vehicle. He admits that his outfit comes across as just a bit "aggressive" to some, but most understand once he explains what he's doing and that the birds aren't harmed. Many people, grateful for his services, have stopped to offer him refreshments or shake his hand.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Cliff Varner, Wichita, Kansas (ph 316 721-6700; email@example.com).
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