Master falconer Vahe’ Alaverdian checks his tracking app during an early morning training session with his falcons in the upper Green River Basin. Wyoming's sagebrush landscape and its greater sage grouse provide the perfect setting to train his falcons, he said, which he uses to abate nuisance birds for clients on the West Coast. (Dustin Bleizeffer/WyoFile)

Vahe’ Alaverdian moved from Los Angeles to Wyoming’s upper Green River Basin in 2015. The master falconer chose the region for its wide-open sagebrush landscape and vast expanse of public lands.

The area is prime habitat for the greater sage grouse. Alaverdian is obsessed with the sporting challenge of hunting greater sage grouse with a bird dog and falcon, he said — and there’s no better place in the world to do it than here.

“This place is my shrine,” Alaverdian said. “I moved here for the open spaces and quiet landscape of sagebrush that I love.”

The sagebrush shrine is also a critical component of Alaverdian’s livelihood. 

His company, Falcon Force, employs the natural predator-prey relationship to control nuisance birds. His clients include vineyards, blueberry- and cherry-crop growers, theme parks, golf courses and airports — almost exclusively on the West Coast. He relies on Wyoming’s sagebrush landscapes and greater sage grouse to train his falcons.

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There are other methods and places to train falcons, but he considers Wyoming the “Cadillac” of sport falconry. 

“The health of this landscape means everything about why I moved here, how I enjoy this and how I train dogs out here, train the falcons,” Alaverdian said. “Just driving around looking at wildlife on a daily basis … is a very important part of my lifestyle.”

Dustin Bleizeffer is a Report for America Corps member covering energy and climate at WyoFile. He has worked as a coal miner, an oilfield mechanic, and for 25 years as a statewide reporter and editor primarily...

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  1. What an interesting business. The trona patch could use his services to keep birds from landing on their storage ponds (probably needed 24/7). Nice website goes into more detail. Great video:

    Interesting website redesign for WyoFile, BTW