Airport bird control
Airports are attractive sites for birds. The large open areas are an ideal resting place, and for wading birds the grasslands offer nesting sites. With birds on the premises collisions between aircraft and birds, known as bird strikes, are a possible hazard. Not only do bird strikes lead to billions of euros in damages to aircraft, they might also cause a serious crash with potential casualties.
You may recall the emergency landing of the US Airways Airbus A320 on the Hudson River on the 15th of January 2009 after the aircraft had collided with a flock of geese. Thanks to the pilot’s exceptional skills, all passengers and crew survived the crash caused by the bird strikes. Bird strikes impacting the engines sustain the highest percentage of actual damage among major aircraft components. The loss of engine power brings high risks.
Best bird deterrent is to control birds
Bird strikes happen regularly, and the problems are increasing due to the growing bird populations, faster and quieter airplanes, and a growing number of flights worldwide. The surroundings of airports are another factor: these are often close to water or surrounded by agricultural fields. Airports need to increase effort in their wildlife management programs with the focus on bird control methods.
Offering birds the key components for survival makes the airport an attractive site to stay. In order to develop a bird control strategy that lasts, you need to fully understand how the flocks of pest birds behave and understand the attractiveness of the areas surroundings. Important to note is why they are using the site, were it for nesting, foraging or resting. Not only the airport site may be of interest to birds, other attractive foraging or nesting locations may be in the nearby surroundings. Bird strike preventions starts with figuring out why your site is so attractive to birds and next analyse what damage the birds are causing, after which you can set up a bird control strategy.
Many airports have bird control initiatives in place to minimize interaction between birds and aircrafts. There are three general options to minimize airplane bird strikes and airports most successful at minimizing bird strikes employ all three methods through various techniques. The three general options are:
- modifying the birds’ habitat including bird deterrent methods
- controlling the birds’ behaviour
- modifying the aircrafts
Modifying habitat is an effective way to encourage birds to seek alternative roosting and feeding grounds. For a successful bird control strategy, food sources are to be eliminated, such as removal of seed-bearing plants and the use of insecticides or pesticides to eliminate insects. Other habitat management includes covering of nearby ponds with netting to prevent birds from landing and removing nesting or shelter sites. The last by removing brushes, trees and mowing of grass.
Different bird control methods for airports
There are many tools for modifying birds’ behaviour, these techniques allow to encourage birds to avoid the airport by controlling birds’ fear. Clear Flight Solutions has experience with the tools used for this specific method, integrating the Robird®, a robotic bird drone with the existing methods enhances the success of dispersing birds and control birds when they are airborne. The strategy used by Clear Flight Solutions is to create the Pavlov effect by implementing the integrated (complete toolbox) approach. Tools to be used for modifying birds’ behaviour are:
The Robird® is a truly unique remotely controlled robotic bird of prey, with the realistic appearance and weight of its living counterpart. The Robird® falcon drone uses flapping wing flight as a means of propulsion, with a flight performance comparable to real birds. Based on nature itself, the robot bird Robird® offers new and exciting possibilities in bird control. By triggering the instinct of birds, through combination of silhouette and the flying bird robot’s wing movement, chasing off birds becomes fully controllable.
Lasers in avian dispersal startle birds by the strong contrast between the ambient light and the laser beam. During low light conditions this technique is very selective, it can cause non-selective disturbance at night when the light beam is visible over a large distance.
The lasers are safe and effective species-specific alternatives to pyrotechnics, shotguns and other traditional tools for bird control. The key word is ‘species-specific’ as not all species of birds respond to this method.
Bird bangers, cannons, pyrotechnics, recorded predator calls
Pyrotechnics have been used for years as an effective tool for the deterrent of birds and are included in the integrated bird control strategies of Clear Flight Solutions. The loud bangs or screamers scare birds and will cause them to go airborne. Loud noises will disrupt the environment of the birds where they believe danger is to approach. The same effect is established by using the recorded predator calls or distress calls of birds, it triggers the birds fear for their safety.
At several airports worldwide dogs have been trained to track through the habitat and teach birds that the area has many predators. The dogs are scaring birds from their perching places, taking away the ability to feed, rest or nest.
The last three bird control methods have one common response, the birds go airborne and fly away in no specific direction. Whereas with the Robird®, robotic falcon, the bird can be directed in preferred direction. Imagine as herding sheep with a dog, the falcon bird drone makes it possible to herd birds. The pilot controls birds with a fully controllable robotic bird of prey, Robird®, removing birds from airport side. A combination of above methods will be the most effective strategy for bird control management at the airport.
The third initiative is modifying plane behaviour, changing flight paths and schedules can help minimize bird strikes. This method is not feasible for airports but can be used to help the airport work in harmony with the wildlife surrounding it.
Radar equipment to track the movement and density of bird flocks can predict bird behaviour and manage control techniques more effectively. At such times the wildlife management team can disrupt the approach with the Robird® falcon drone.
Take action to control birds and let us help
Are birds a problem for you? Please contact us today to talk about the bird control services Clear Flight Solutions can assist you with. Let’s patrol the skies with the Robird® falcon drone, deterring birds from airport site, and effectively control birds when airborne.