Falcons protecting California county's landfills cost $1.8M

Some of the hardest working people in waste disposal are... peregrine falcons? Orange County has hired peregrine falcons to fly over its landfills to keep seagulls away. 

The birds don't come cheap - the Orange County Register reports the county has approved $1.8 million in falcon contracts over the last five years. The Board of Supervisors approved the last year of that contract at a meeting on Tuesday. 

Advocates for the program say the birds are working. When the falcons were first deployed back in 2013, the dump collectively averaged around 458 gull sightings per day. Last year? That number dropped to two sightings per day. 

And just to make sure the falcons were the reason gulls were now staying away from the dump, the county temporarily suspended the program in July of last year. The gulls returned, proving the falcons were worth paying for. 

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