For the real stars of the show, the military has enlisted a squad of falcons and monkeys “to help protect … jets from the threat of flying birds,” state media reported Tuesday. Trainers at an unspecified air force base in Beijing have been methodically dispatching macaques to scamper up trees and destroy the birds’ nests, then sending falcons to frighten them away.
“Two of the macaques, named ‘Qitian’ and ‘Ziyun,’ can get rid of a nest in approximately one minute,” said a report on china.org.cn, a news website overseen by China’s State Council Information Office. “[The trainer] needs to shout ‘hurry up’ at times to encourage the hesitant monkeys, who receive rewards like corn for a job well done.”
“The falcons do not need to prey on other birds; their presence simply drives [them] off,” the report continued. “They are usually launched two hours before the jets, with three or four falcons needed each day to do the job.”