by Adam Ghassemi
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – More than 10 million people flew through Nashville International last year, but keeping things clean with that many people can be a tough job, especially with unwelcome visitors. The airport authority is now using a creative approach to fix the problem.
Nashville International Airport is usually full of people trying to make their flights. Then there's Don Hervig who hopes "Brandy,” an eight-month-old falcon, does, as well.
"She's constantly looking. She knows what the game is,” he said Friday.
Hervig and Jeff Fincher own Raptor Abatement. They use raptors to get rid of smaller, nuisance birds.
The airport, like many big box retailers, has been plagued for years by birds that fly in and can’t get back out. Where nets and traps have failed, they hope Brandy won’t.
"The shape of a predator the birds know that and so they will typically go the opposite direction,” Hervig said. "She will make a pile of feathers if she catches one.”
As you can imagine, a guy walking around an airport with a bird of prey on his arm gets some attention.
"It's surprising. I didn't expect to see that,” said Blake Laing of Chattanooga who was traveling with his family.
Even though Brandy hunts smaller birds for food the point is not to kill them. Shannon Sumrall with the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority said they want to create a "behavioral adjustment" to get rid of the birds and the unsanitary mess they leave behind.
"Over time they'll know this is no longer a safe place to live. That there are predators in here,” Sumrall said.
Hervig and Fincher said their Estill Springs-based company is one of only a few in the country doing this, and the only one in Tennessee.
This is the first time they've worked inside an airport, but they have helped fix a bird problem along Second Avenue in downtown Nashville.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org