Chasing the Winged Rats | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 14, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 14, 2016

STRANGE PROFESSIONS

Chasing the Winged Rats

Skyscrapers, luxury hotels in the UAE have been facing existential threat from a very charming creature which is often symbolised with peace and holiness. For years, these little creatures have been playing such havoc with the some of the strongest structures in the world that the Sheikhs have been investing millions to tackle them. These creatures are the hundreds and thousands of pigeons that live all across the Emirates. Pigeon droppings contain strong acidic substance that easily eat into tar based roofing of concrete buildings. Their droppings can also stain concrete so severely that long-time accumulation of these substances can decisively damage the entire building. However, pigeons are also a symbol of aristocracy for the Arabs who rear this bird in large numbers in their homesteads. 

A very different kind of professionals has appeared in the Emirates to solve this ever intensifying crisis. They are the professional falconers whose trained falcons to chase flocks of pigeons at a speed up to 320 kilometres per hour. However, these falcons are trained not to kill any pigeon rather they only drive the pigeons away from sitting or nesting on the buildings. According to Reuters 18,000 falcons have been registered in the UAE to do this job. David Stead, owner of Al Hurr Falconry Services told Reuters in an interview, “The market of falconry in the Emirates is massive. There is also space for more. We fly at all their hotels and skyscrapers such as Burj Al Arab, Emirates Towers, Madinat Jumeirah and the demands are increasing day by day.” 

And these falconers have been earning millions. Per month, a falconer earns on an average 10,000 to 40,000 US$ from a single bird. As an ecological way of pest control, wildlife conservationists across the world also have endorsed falconry to control pigeon population in the urban areas. Nowadays, as the billion dollar skyscrapers and luxury hotels have become easy prey to pigeon droppings, falconers have come with the flag of rescue and certainly the have won a fortune in the Manhattan of the middle east.  

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