LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — A trio of Harris Hawks happily rests in its enclosure, but soon they'll be back to work doing what comes naturally.
"Birds of prey hunt from above, so if the small birds can stay above the hawk or falcon, they feel safer," said Civon Gewelber, a professional falconer with AirborneWildlifeControlService.com.
Her company was recently hired by Wynn Las Vegas to help control the nuisance bird population, mostly grackles and pigeons.
"So guests were having food stolen off of their plates right in front of them while they were trying to enjoy the environment," said Gewelber.
The raptors are released one at a time, and soar high above the pool perimeter. No smaller birds dare enter the area below.
"They recognize a predator when they see one. They don't necessarily know they're not being hunted, but they don't want to risk it," said Falconer Hannah Crowley.
The hawks are trained, not to attack other birds, just to fly above a specific area, which means no animals are harmed.
Raptor abatement isn't a new concept.
Trained birds of prey are often used on agricultural fields, airport runways and yes, resorts.
At Wynn the falconers often arrive with other exotic birds of prey, offering guests a show and tell education.
The real work however takes place when the hawks hit the skies, scrambling pigeons away, and leaving guests largely unaware, and most importantly, undisturbed.