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The falconer – how birds help NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission

07 Apr 2021 11:58


Wild birds on air bases pose a big risk to aircraft. If they fly into an engine in what is known as a ‘bird strike’, an aircraft could be severely damaged. For that reason air bases need to be kept clear of wild birds. At Šiauliai Air Base in Lithuania -- home to fighter jets that fly NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission -- Polish falconer Michał Bień along with his falcons and hawks, is the man who keeps the wild birds away. Learn about Michał and find out what it is about his birds that make them perfect for the job. Footage includes various shots of Michał Bień flying his falcons and hawks to keep the air base clear of wild birds.


Wild birds can pose a serious risk to aircraft. Meet the man and his feathered friends helping protect the fighter jets in NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission.


(00:00) VARIOUS SHOTS – FALCONER MICHAŁ BIEŃ WITH FALCONS AND BIRDS IN LIVING QUARTERS AT AIR BASE (00:08) VARIOUS SHOTS – MICHAŁ DRIVING VEHICLE AT AIR BASE WITH FALCON AND THEN HAWK RESTING ON HIS ARM (00:22) MID SHOT - MICHAŁ EXITS VEHICLE WHILE FIGHTER JET FLIES OVERHEAD (00:27) MIDSHOT – MICHAŁ BIEŃ SURVEYS AIRFIELD THROUGH BINOCULARS WHILE HOLDING A FALCON (00:31) VARIOUS SHOTS – MICHAŁ RELEASES HAWK FROM MOVING VEHICLE TO SCARE AWAY BIRDS FROM THE AIRFIELD (00:41) CLOSE UP – HAWK RETURNS TO MICHAŁ’S GLOVE WHERE IT IS FED RAW MEAT (00:47) VARIOUS SHOTS - MICHAŁ AND HIS BIRDS WORKING AT THE AIRFIELD TO SCARE AWAY WILD BIRDS (01:46) VARIOUS SHOTS – FALCON SITTING ON MICHAŁ’S GLOVED HAND ON AIRFIELD (01:56) VARIOUS SHOTS – MICHAŁ HOLDING A FALCON WITH VARIOUS FIGHTER JETS FROM NATO’S BALTIC AIR POLICING MISSION IN THE BACKGROUND (02:18) SOUNDBITE (POLISH) – MICHAŁ BIEŃ, FALCONER “Here in Šiaulia, during the Baltic Air Policing mission, my main task is to deter wild birds. This is our task, to protect aircraft and human lives.” (02:30) SOUNDBITE (POLISH) – MICHAŁ BIEŃ, FALCONER “To be a good falconer, you need a good sense of empathy.” (02:34) SOUNDBITE (POLISH) – MICHAŁ BIEŃ, FALCONER “They do their job and each one does it in their own way. What’s important is that they are effective and they scare away birds.” (02:40) SOUNDBITE (POLISH) – MICHAŁ BIEŃ, FALCONER “The Saker falcons and hawks I use, are natural enemies of wild birds.” (02:48) SOUNDBITE (POLISH) – MICHAŁ BIEŃ, FALCONER “The falcons I use are similar to fighter jets. They are very fast, very agile, they can reach very high altitudes.” (03:03) SOUNDBITE (POLISH) – MICHAŁ BIEŃ, FALCONER “When people see or think about bird predators, they think they're just killing machines, but if you spend more time with them, it’s not that simple.” (03:19) SOUNDBITE (POLISH) – MICHAŁ BIEŃ, FALCONER “They can be caring. They work well among themselves and with humans. I think it makes them special animals.”

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Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania
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