The Robot Falcons of England

From Rob Beschizza on WIRED Gadgets:

Roboticfalcon As much as that headline sounds like a the title of a steampunk epic, it refers to something absolutely real. Liverpool, Europe's Capital of Culture for 2008, needs to get rid of its legions of flying rats (and their leavings) in time for the celebrations. Robot falcons will be in their campaign's vanguard.

Essentially, they're animatronic scarecrows, whose presence, it's hoped, will scare away the city's now-unwelcome pigeons. The team of 10 "Robops," as they're inexplicably named, are modeled on Peregrine Falcons, which eat pigeons, and will look around, flap their wings and utter menacing squawks.

Liverpool apparently has 8 workers on full-time guano-cleaning duty, the slick white smears ultimately costing the city $320,000 a year to deal with.

I wish that I could have attented the council meeting in which all this was approved, so that I could have suggested that the robot falcons be equipped with sidewinders and lasers.

Here's some video, at the BBC.

Robotic birds scare 'fat' pigeons [BBC]