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Walnut Creek Mall Uses Trained Hawk To Scare Away Pigeons

WALNUT CREEK (CBS SF) -- An outdoor mall in Walnut Creek has brought in a hawk to help with a pigeon problem.

Downtown Walnut Creek's Broadway Plaza is a lovely place to visit -- unless you're a pigeon.

"They are called the wolves of the air," explained falconer Bridget Maguire-Colton as her trained hawk Remmy flapped his wings.

Remmy is a Harris hawk usually found in the deserts of Arizona chasing doves. But now this bird of prey is chasing pigeons away from the suburban East Bay mall.

It seems to be working.

"Have you seen any pigeons today?" asked Maguire-Colton with a laugh.

There were none visible. Maguire-Colton patrols the plaza with Remmy keeping a hawk eye out for any intruders.

Every once in a while, she releases Remmy so he can get a better look from above.

Remmy rarely catches a pigeon. The hawk's shriek alone usually clears the area for blocks around.

Remmy has also become an instant celebrity. Shoppers at Broadway Plaza are shocked to see the hawk.

"I think it genius! It's a really cool idea," said one shopper.

While pigeons may get used to the plastic owls sometimes used on buildings to keep the pesky birds away, experts say they never lose respect for sharp claws and scream of a hawk.

Currently, there are about a half dozen malls using hawks to scare off pigeons but the many sun-drenched outdoor malls in California could push that number higher given the success rate.

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