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Seattle Times photographers offer a glimpse into what inspires their best visual reporting.

July 13, 2014 at 3:12 PM

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Falcon Force: a natural patrol against crop pests


BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Master Falconer Vahé Alaverdian, of Falcon Force, lures male peregrine falcon Sitting Bull while he patrols one of the blueberry fields at Roy Farms in Moxee, Yakima County on July 10, 2014. Falcon Force uses raptor birds to scare away other birds from destroying fragile crops like cherries and blueberries. They call it "falconry-based bird abatement," and say it is a cleaner, greener way of ridding crops from birds that eat the fruit that is still growing. They also contract with vineyards, landfills and airports for bird-abatement services as well.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Falcons perch in the back of Alaverdian's truck, waiting to be flown.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Falconer Conor Bucalo, 20, of San Diego, flies Merlot, an 8-year-old male Aplomado falcon while patrolling one of the blueberry fields at Roy Farms in Moxee.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

A large flock of starlings takes off over old hop trellises upon seeing one of the falcons. If started early in the growing season, the presence of the falcons teaches the other birds be wary of predator birds in the area.

For more photos, visit the gallery.

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