A WIGAN falconer is helping to stop the spread of infections at hospitals across the region.
Wayne Wrigley and his Harris Hawk Alice were first called to Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester two years ago to try and scare pigeons away from the site.
Wayne and Alice were then deployed another 15 times to the Manchester site and were deemed to be a great success.
Now Salford Royal Hospital has followed suit and deployed its own Harris Hawk. They feared that the feathered pests could pose a health risk but wanted to tackle the problem humanely.
Harris Hawks can have a wing span of up to 3.5ft and are relatively common in the UK.
The diet of the Harris’s Hawk consists of small creatures including birds, lizards, mammals, and large insects. Since about 1980, Harris Hawks have been increasingly used in falconry and are now the most popular hawks outside of Asia for that purpose, as they are one of the easiest to train and the most social.
Salford Royal’s general manager of facilities Mike Hall said: “A bird of prey is certainly not what you’d expect to see on a hospital site.
“Pigeons can be a nuisance and carry disease so the handler and Harris Hawk visit once a month to create a menacing presence for pigeons and deter them from roosting on our site. We’re pleased with how this is going and we have seen a reduction in the number of pigeons around Salford Royal.”
Although Wrightington Wigan Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) say they do work to try and stop pigeons residing on hospital grounds they have yet to call in Wayne.
The trust, which runs all three hospital sites in Wigan Wrightington and Leigh, say they have implemented schemes to deter pigeons but have yet to resort to Alice.