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Birds of prey help NATO warplanes police Baltic air

Falconer Mariusz Chruscinski holds a falcon at the Zokniai air base near Siauliai, LithuaniaA NATO mission policing Baltic airspace amid heightened tensions with Russia has forged a rather exotic alliance to ensure the safety of pilots and their jets. Four birds of prey — three falcons and an eagle — soar over the tarmac near four massive hangars at the Zokniai airforce base in northwest Lithuania. Experience shows that predatory birds and the ancient art of falconry vastly outperform man-made acoustic and visual scare tactics, which wild birds quickly realise pose no credible threat. “All artificial methods work only for a short time because birds get used to them, but they’re always mindful of predators,” Mariusz Chroscinski, a soft-spoken Polish falconer told AFP.

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