7 factors that raise the number of birdstrikes

Birdstrikes are one of the many dangers that an airport must face. In this post, we list the main factors that contribute on increasing the risk and share the experience of two US airports. Read on to learn more!

Doral Landfill
Credit. Doral Family Journal

1) Airport vicinity and birdstrikes

When the person in charge of the wildlife dept at any airport sketch the management plan, there are a series of factors that should be taken on consideration:

2) 7 factors that raise the number of birdstrikes

a)Habitat features

Including open areas of grass and water as well as shrubs and trees, provide food and roosting sites for birds. Even transient water accumulation on uneven pavements can be a significant
bird attractant.

b)Landfill and other waste disposal sites

Often attract large numbers of birds if they are not carefully managed. Some types of agricultural activity, on or in the vicinity of an airport, may
attract birds.

c)Migrating birds

Often follow well-defined flight paths in considerable numbers. This can create a hazard if the flight paths are near an airport.

d) Airports in coastal locations

Often have a much higher level of unmanaged bird activity than do inland airports.

e)Most airports contain considerable areas of grass

Since even dry grass can be attractive as a loitering area for birds by day or night, appropriate grass management policies, especially
the grass height maintained, can be very important. (More about grass height here)

f)Flight path

Pilots have very little training in wildlife avoidance nor is training required by any regulatory agency. However, they should not takeoff or land in the presence of wildlife and should avoid migratory routes, wildlife
reserves, estuaries and other sites where birds may congregate. When operating in the presence of bird flocks, pilots should seek to climb above
3,000 feet (910 m) as rapidly as possible as most birdstrikes occur below 3,000 feet (910 m). Additionally pilots should slow their aircraft when
confronted with birds.

3)Airport Experience

a) MIA (Miami Intl Airport) case

a.1) Doral Landfill

Miami Intl Airport has a major issue that contributes on increasing the risk of birdstrike, the Medley Landfill. In a recent article, published on Doral Family Journal, they highlight the many dangers that a the expansion of this landfill presents.
Landfills attract large numbers of birds, because it is a synonym to food. Luckily, MIA is using Eclipse Wildlife System since 2018 and, successfully managed to avoid birdstrikes. (VIDEO: See how they do it here!)

b) Orlando

b.1) Fishing

One way to prevent birdstrikes at Orlando International Airport is to catch fish. One particular thing about this airport is that there are ponds, canals and lush wetlands around it. The biologist in charge of that, Johnny Metcalf, explained that by taking food away from birds, they won’t hang out at the end of the runway.
OIA goes to great lengths to keep birds away from runways, including importing racoons and bobcats, and removal of fish from a secluded lake.

4) Eclipse Wildlife tools

a) Pyros

Pyrotechnics as bird deterrents

The biggest issue with bird control tools is that birds are much smarter in adapting or habituating to their environment than people give them credit for. They get used to most of the deterrents. If birds at airports can get used to a Boeing 747 landing near them without scaring them, why a propane cannon or a standing laser will be effective in the long term?

The key of using pyrotechnics is combining sounds and visual effects to create a stimulus that attract birds primary instincts. This can be done with a variety of pyrotechnics of varying range, colors, and blasts that can make birds fell that the place is not safe to stay. However, the correct training of bird controllers is also essential. A true specialist know there is not a ¨silver bullet¨ in bird control. A complete toolbox, and well-trained proffesional are needed for a succesfull Wildlife Control Program.

Pyrotechnics have been used for years as an effective tool for the deterrent of birds, and today the latest technology is a specialized wireless bird control pyrotechnics launchers that have been proven to combine different visual effects, this allow users to combine different effects to avoid bird habituation, and also safeguard the bird controllers, so they are away from the ignition of the pyrotechnics.

Safety in Pyrotechnics pest control devices

In Eclipse Wildlife Control we take safety as the primary goal, this is why we follow some important rules.

  • All Eclipse products are made with built in security sensors that block the system when an operator is surrounding them
  • All Eclipse products come with a patented sensor which prevents using live rounds or other rounds that are not pyrotechnics in our products, for safety purposes.
  • All eclipse products can be safely fired at a safe distance without the need of handheld launchers.

Bellow are some of the Basic Pyrotechnic Safety Rules recommended:

  1. Wear eye and ear protection.
  2. Check the barrel after each round. Clean the barrel as needed.
  3. Store in a locked, temperature and humidity-controlled safe or cabinet separate from live ammunition.
  4. Do not fire into the wind.
  5. Do not fire towards buildings or people, or over a dry field.
  6. Do not discharge pyrotechnics from within a vehicle.
  7. Duds and damaged pyrotechnics should be completely soaked in water before they are discarded.
  8. Carry operating instructions with the pyrotechnic pistol.
  9. Carry a fire extinguisher for use in case of a fire.
  10. Clean the pistol/shotgun often, as per manufacturer recommendation

b) Grass management

At Eclipse we are very aware of this, so we develop a grass management and risk assessment tool built-in and ready to use.
As stated in this post, the first step is to build a risk matrix, identifying the high-risk species at your airport ECLIPSE WILDLIFE CONTROL SYSTEM automatically does this task, calculating the frequency, weight, and behaviour of species. Therefore, you can assign different grass heights from your Admin Dashboard and run the perfect wildlife plan!
  • Real-time map view
  • Select regions and assign grass height
  • Different colour for ease
  • Place work orders in no time
  • Risk Assessment

Dr. Nabil Kutbi – General Authority of Civil Aviation
Orlando Sentinel
Doral Family Journal

Share your thoughts and other factors that increase the risk!

Join the community:

Linkedin: International Birdstrike Group
Youtube: Suscribe
Instagram: Follow
Twitter: Follow
Facebook: Follow


Blog User

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *