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Guardian of SoFi Stadium: Sol the Hawk

Harris' Hawk
Harris' Hawk (Not Sol)

At SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, amidst the roar of the crowd and the excitement of NFL games and concerts, there's a silent guardian at work.

Sol, a three-foot wingspan Harris’s hawk with a beak as menacing as her reputation among the nuisance birds that frequent the stadium. Harris's Hawks are large raptors with brown feathers and yellow beaks.

Since 2020, Sol has been an integral part of an eco-friendly program aimed at controlling the influx of seagulls, ducks, pigeons, and geese that flock to the stadium, drawn by the promise of easy snacks amidst the bustling crowds. Birds cause droppings and spread trash This creates both a nuisance and a health hazard.

Jorge Herrera, SoFi Stadium's official falconer, describes Sol as a predator in her element. Other birds recognize her as a threat. When Sol takes flight, the nuisance birds scatter, understanding instinctively that danger is near.

"Sol doesn't typically harm the other birds, but to them, the threat is real. They know who we are and what we represent," said Herrera.

Sol's role extends beyond mere cleanliness; it's a matter of safety as well. SoFi Stadium lies directly in the flight path of inbound flights to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Large migrating birds pose a significant risk to these flights, increasing the likelihood of bird strikes – a hazard that Sol and her handlers are keen to mitigate.

"We want to prevent large migrating birds from coming through the area. It's called bird strike hazard, and it's a serious concern for both us and air travelers," Herrera said.

For Sol, her job is simple yet crucial. Patrol the stadium grounds. She not only keeps the nuisance birds away but also ensures the safety of both sports fans and air travelers. In return for her efforts, Sol receives a well-deserved reward: a piece of raw meat, a small token of appreciation for her invaluable service.

So, the next time you're at SoFi Stadium, amid the excitement of the game or the concert, spare a moment to appreciate the silent guardian patrolling the skies above. Sol, the Harris’s hawk, may go unnoticed by many, but her presence ensures a cleaner, safer environment for all who visit SoFi Stadium.


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