A County Durham Business that uses falcons and other hawks for pest-control purposes is expanding around the country.

Michael Taylor – an animal trainer who has worked on films including the Harry Potter series – set up Contigo Response in 2004 when he was just 18-years-old.

Mr Taylor established his firm with the help of the Prince’s Trust, receiving a grant of £1,500 and a £500 loan.

The company uses its 60 birds of prey to scare away other birds that are causing problems for its clients. Some of Contigo Response’s well-known customers include Asda, Tesco and Durham County Council.

The company has also worked with fast food outlets, industrial parks, shopping centres and stadiums, and has used its falcons to protect window cleaners who were under attack from gulls on Baker Street in London.

Contigo Responses now employs 27 people and has a turnover of £1.3 million. The company is aiming to achieve a turnover of £2 million by the year’s end.

Mr Taylor – who was responsible for handling the owls for the Harry Potter films – said, “The firm has come a long way in the last few years and we are gearing up for significant growth over the next 12 to 15 months.”

photo courtesy of Bart Rousseau, from Flickr Creative Commons
The firm’s hawks have been used to protect window cleaners from aggressive gulls (photo courtesy of Bart Rousseau, from Flickr Creative Commons)

The firm – which has its headquarters in Chilton, County Durham – also has bases in Yorkshire, London and Scotland. It is looking to employ more people at all of these sites and to open more offices across the country.

Contigo Response may also look at acquiring other firms as it expands.

Mr Taylor added, “I am excited by what the future holds for Contigo. We are now working with a host of both national and international established companies, which was a distant dream when I first started my career.”

“I have enjoyed plenty of success doing what I love.”

“I’m very proud of what we have all achieved at Contigo. The commitment, drive and professionalism shown by the team in reaching our shared goals is what gives us the edge in the marketplace.”

(Featured image courtesy of Mark Kent, from Flickr Creative Commons)

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