PALMA City Council has begun its seasonal campaign to dislodge flocks of starlings which perch in vast numbers on trees throughout the capital. This year, however, there's something new on the wing: the use of trained falcons to dissuade the starlings from becoming ensconced at key points around the city. Begoña Moragues, Health and Consumer Affairs deputy on the Council, explained yesterday that the Starling Control Campaign began at the start of November because the birds have arrived on mass one month early this year on their migratory route from northern Europe to north Africa. She was attending a demonstration in Plaza España set up by technicians, showing just how the falcons are used to dissuade the starlings from settling on the trees there. Moragues said that this year, the flocks of starlings “set up base” at the beginning of the month in calle Manacor, causing the usual problems of noise and dirt. As a result, it had been necessary to try and encourage the birds to move on from there so that they didn't become such a nuisance for local people. The first phase of the campaign, which aims to avoid the birds congregating together in such vast numbers, will use the trained falcons, which are the natural predators of starlings to disperse them. The second phase involves setting off loud but harmless fireworks to frighten them off as well as using loud speakers to emit the sound of falcons calling in flight.

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