John Fall and Gary Griffiths, falconers with Envirochoice Falconry by Aston Telling Tales published on 2013/05/19 20:50:06 +0000 John and Gary detail their use of birds of prey to deter magpies and pigeons from eating the grass seed at the Aston Villa pitch. The main bird they use is a Harris hawk as this particular type of bird is known for its cooperative and social behaviour. They are more skilled in catching things from the ground rather than the air, such as rabbits and mice, but give the pigeons and magpies a run for their money, catching some occasionally. Their very presence is enough to deter other birds from the pitch and they patrol Aston Villa three times a week. Gary and John explain that falconry is not a hobby, it’s not a job, it’s a way of life that requires a devotion to, and passion for the birds as caring for them properly requires a large amount of time and acquired knowledge. They also explain that falconers would have been used in the seventeenth century. A Goshawk would have been the main bird used, and as far back as the medieval period it was known as the cook’s bird as it brought food to the table.