Air Superiority: the natural approach to pest control


Last updated 10/4/2007 at Noon

By utilizing organic methods of pest control, Air Superiority is meeting the needs of individuals who rebuff the idea of using pesticides on their properties.

“It’s a new awareness,” said Tom Stephan, master falconer and owner of the company. “People want to use organic methods.”

Air Superiority uses birds of prey to control residential pest problems. Bird abatement projects are also facilitated at places such as vineyards, landfills and military sites.

Air force bases have sought assistance from Stephan in having birds removed from the runway, which cause a Bird Air Strike Hazard. Stephan uses a method reeling back centuries: falconry.

“I come out, assess the situation and figure out how many falcons are needed,” Stephan explained. The falcon(s) are released, take flight and strategically scare off the birds.

At vineyards, the same type of bird abatement technique is used, said Stephan. Starlings, for example, can ruin a healthy harvest, robbing vineyard owners of large profits. Sending a falcon to the rescue can cause an immediate starling deportation.

Using falcons for a bird abatement project, Stephan said, is cost effective and environmentally safe.

Another large and important part of Stephan’s business is building and erecting owl nest houses at residences or other sites. Generally, a property of one-quarter acre or more is ideal for an owl house.

According to Stephan, homeowners should be aware that owls can be vocal.

“Owls do make some noise during a particular time of the year when the babies are leaving the nest; they get vocal and it lasts a couple of weeks,” he said. “It’s a small price to pay for all of the good that they do.”

When a nesting box is constructed and installed, a pair of owls will make it home, killing up to 2,000 gophers, rats and mice per year.

“If you have a gopher or rat problem, there is absolutely no reason for it; you can quit pulling your hair out now,” quipped Stephan.

Though it may not appear that owls reside in their box year-round, they do, said Stephan. Owls will typically nest in trees to cool off on hot days, but they go back to their boxes once the temperatures drop.

Stephan’s custom-built owl houses are made of a tropical wood which can weather a variety of temperatures and outdoor conditions. He offers a variety of designs from basic to ornate creations. He will also pick the perfect owl house location and do the installation.

Stephan has a tacit, natural relationship with birds of prey. This year marks his 40th year as a falconer, the majority of which has been lived out as a master falconer. Back in high school, Stephan was given the nickname “Bird Man.”

Stephan openly admits he loves his business and the uniqueness of it all. “I was created to enhance a habitat,” he said.

For more information on Air Superiority, contact Stephan at (760) 445-2023 or log on to


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