There is a very hard-working individual at the Halton Waste Management Site that is one of the Region’s most popular employees. She can be found at Halton’s landfill every day and always has a good “birds’ eye-view” of the activities going on. Her name is Xena and her job, day in and day out, is to keep seagulls away from the landfill.
When most people think of landfills, they think of seagulls. The Halton Waste Management Site is very proud of the fact that we have no gulls on the property.
Halton’s landfill is located within 25 km of the Hamilton Harbour, one of the largest gull nesting areas in Canada. There’s also an airport nearby; so we need to keep gulls away from our landfill site to keep the planes safe. Preventing gulls from swarming the garbage at our site is not an easy task — but Xena has it all under control.
Xena is medium-sized with a white rump and undertail. She has chestnut-red thighs and shoulders, and her legs and bare skin are yellow.
Oh, did I forget to mention? Xena is a bird of prey — a Harris Hawk, to be more specific.
That’s right, Halton’s landfill engages a full-time contractor who uses birds of prey, like Xena, to keep away the gull population. If necessary, the contractor may also use pyrotechnics and loud noises to scare away any gulls that may be in the area. As part of the formal guidelines from the Ministry of the Environment to operate the landfill, Halton must have a gull control program in place.
Xena likes being at the landfill, because like other Harris Hawks, semi-arid environments are their preferred habitats.
When gulls fly overhead, just seeing Xena sitting on her woodchip pile is usually enough of a warning for any gull to leave the property immediately. Word travels fast in the gull world, and when they know Xena is around, they often find another area to hang out — not at the landfill.
Xena loves to entertain the many school tours that we have at the landfill. Just a few weeks ago, Xena jumped from window to window on a school bus, giving all the students a great glimpse of her beautiful colours, and massive wingspan, which is over 1 metre!
I guess you’d agree that Halton has a pretty unique employee working hard at the landfill site. We are fortunate to have Xena on our Waste Management Services team and encourage you to look for her the next time you visit the site!
Do you know of any other animals who have interesting day jobs? We’d love for you to share your stories with us!