Birdstrike Management R&D
Bird and wildlife strike management continues to be driven by the identification of hazards, understanding of risks and improvements in both the basic habitat management requirements to monitoring, recording and active control. Understanding the value of each measure against different species in different contexts always presents opportunities and developments that merit consideration. Birdstrike Management staff strive to ensure a scientific approach to help quantify, measure and control risks through targeted research and development both in all wildlife deterrence arenas.
Carbon sequestration, bottoming out, scarification, new grass cultivars, the world of 'long grass' actually refers to a standard policy of 6"-8" tall grass developed in the 1970's and 1980's to deter certain hazardous bird species from using airfields in the UK. Whilst still appropriate in many cases, Long Grass Policy and Habitat Management is a specialist area in itself. BML provide staff expertise and results based policies to enable airports to understand the ecology of the hazardous birds they strike and to best enable an effective habitat management policy to be implemented.
LASER BIRD DETERRENCE
In relation to direct gull dispersals, BML are currently actioning and monitoring the deployment of hand-held 'green' lasers at roost sites and breeding sites to ascertain the ability of these tools to deter and disperse birds under different situations. Having initially reported on their use in the early 2000's, BML continues to review the different models and systems being provided by manufacturers to ensure we only every recommend the best value tools, regardless of supplier.
Without doubt bird detection radar systems are becoming a feature of aviation monitoring with systems now in place at many airports around the world. Our staff were involved with the very first adoption of these systems in the UK and are currently working at international airports undertaking validation programmes on behalf of airport operators for two of the major radar providers.
The devastation of COVID19 has resulted in a unique period of quiet at airports around the world. Whilst it is impossible to assign absolute results to any particular aerodrome, the impacts on wildlife presence, behaviours around aircraft, response to control methods and on flight safety as the industry attempts to return to the 'new normal', have been significant. BML has been engaging at the forefront of this field and using the data gathered by a multitude of airports and via international strike reporting hubs to better understand the secondary effects of the virus caused by staff shortages, changing risk prioritisation and general species changes.
BML staff have been involved with surveying nesting gull populations for several years and acknowledge the difficulties of ground based and vantage point survey methodologies. With this in mind, professional drone technology was deployed in 2016 within an industrial estate adjacent to an airport to assess whether improvements in detection could be made. The results were dramatic. Having now tested the methodology we are able to offer this service to our clients.
Here in the UK, birds of prey suffered significant persecution and accidental poisoning over many decades with the result that many common species were almost lost from the countryside in the mid to late 20th century. Their return over the past few decades is a conservation success story that is, however, impacting on flight safety issues at aerodromes. BML are working closely with a major UK airport and UK statutory government bodies to review the use of traps that have been successfully deployed to relocated birds of prey in some European countries.
CANADA GOOSE REVIEW
Working with the University of Aarhus, Birdstrike Management staff utilised their extensive expertise and contacts around the world to review the management programmes used on airfield to control the risk from geese. As a large, flocking species with a proven track record of causing catastrophic incidents our staff were only too pleased to help produce this review of the science behind goose management at and around aerodromes.