Contact Hawkeye Bird and Animal Control LLC


Hawkeye Bird and Animal Control LLC
5600 N Flagler Dr. #705
West Palm Beach, FL 33407
Ph: 1.833.833.4295

5600 N Flagler Dr. Suite #705, West Palm Beach FL 33407 1-833-833-4295

Pyrotechnics used in Bird Control

What are Pyrotechnics?

Pyrotechnics, commonly referred to as just “pyro,” are cracker shells fired from a pyrotechnics gun that produces a loud sound or bright visual display. The resultant explosion is similar to that of a small firework. There are a variety of shells that have different effects. Pyro is often used in wildlife control.


On what animals can pyro be used?

Hawkeye uses pyro for bird control because the birds’ ability to fly allows them to scatter quickly and far away when surprised, which is the desired impact of pest control. We use pyro to scare or haze all birds, most often Canada geese, gulls, swallows, and terns, though its use as a scaring technique has a different effect on each species. Additionally, this process is regulated by Canadian Wildlife Services, and each species and subspecies requires separate authorization to scare.


  • A scare permit is required to scare Canada geese with pyrotechnics. It may not be used when dependent young or moulting flightless adults are present.
  • Colonial nesting waterbirds, such as terns and gulls, may only be scared with pyro when a damage or danger permit is issued. Further, it can only be used in the fall, winter, and spring before dependent young are present.
  • All species of swallows may only be scared with pyro when a damage or danger permit is issued outside of their active season (April 1st to August 31st in Ontario).

It is essential to keep in mind that while pyro is an effective bird-scaring tool, the sole use of pyro to scare birds quickly results in diminishing returns, as the birds will readily habituate. Therefore, pyro should be used in conjunction with other hazing or exclusion techniques to ensure effective bird control.

Are pyro guns real guns?

Most pyrotechnic launchers are not considered firearms by Canadian law and thus are not subject to the same regulations. Therefore, they may be used in jurisdictions that ban the discharge of firearms and do not require a Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) to operate.


However, pyrotechnic cartridges for shotguns are also widely available; they are larger and produce louder sounds to create a proportionally bigger effect in the birds. In this case, even though the guns are only firing blank cartridges, they are subjected to all laws regarding non-restricted firearms. This means that the operator must obtain a PAL and is limited to areas where firearms are allowed. A Certified Urban Marksman may use a firearm within city limits. Only a pump or break-action shotgun can be used to fire these shells, as the pyro cartridges will not cycle themselves in a semi-automatic. Hawkeye primarily uses 15 mm pyrotechnic cartridge launchers and 12 gauge shotguns to fire pyrotechnic cartridges.

Different kinds of pyro

Multiple types of pyrotechnic cartridges are available to produce different sounds or visual displays and are useful in different situations.


  • Bangers are cartridges that travel 25m and explode with a loud bang at the end of their range. Bangers with a bright green flare at the end of its range are available. These have the most significant and immediate effect on birds. 
  • Screamers travel 75m while producing a screeching sound and an intense sparkling light display visible in low light through its entire range. Screamers with a visible trail in bright lighting are available.
  • Whistlers travel 75m while producing a whistling sound through their entire range. Whistlers with a visible trail in bright lighting are available. These are generally the least effective cartridges in bird control.


Using a variety of pyrotechnic cartridges prevents habituation.


Advantages of pyro

  • It is a cheap and straightforward method of bird control
  • The equipment used is easy to obtain, and little training is needed to operate it correctly
  • It has an immediate and drastic effect on the target birds
  • The target birds are not harmed
  • It is very effective when used in conjunction with other scare/hazing tactics, e.g. dogs or birds of prey
  • It can be used in places where it would be dangerous to fly a bird of prey


Disadvantages of pyro

  • Birds will quickly become accustomed to the loud sounds and sights of pyro and will no longer have the same fear reaction, especially if it is used too frequently or improperly
  • Some jurisdictions do not allow the use of pyrotechnics due to noise bylaws
  • Even when permitted, the use of pyro is loud, visible, and disruptive to nearby residents
  • Pyrotechnics cannot be used in places where it would be a fire hazard to do so; these include oil rigs, refineries, and any other locations that produce organic vapours