Airports are complex and crowded hubs of activity. But at any major airport, there’s one set of curious “regulars” who often aren’t appreciated by ground staff: the birds. With the need to keep travelers and wildlife safe, airports are constantly looking at innovative and humane solutions to birds escaping into their airspace.
In this blog post, we’ll explore what humane methods airports around the world have adopted to manage bird populations and guide them away from busy runways.
7 Humane Airport Bird Control Methods That Actually Work
1. Birth Control
Birth control has become one of the most effective airport bird control methods as it provides a more humane approach than other forms of airport bird control, which are often limited to removing birds’ nesting sites and erecting physical barriers.
Birth control allows birds to be safely and effectively managed without forcing them out or destroying their living environment. The process involves the formulation of a special contraceptive bait, which, when consumed by the birds, disrupts their reproductive system or prevents egg fertilization.
This method not only protects airports from potential bird-related problems but it also preserves local wildlife populations and helps to create safer skies for planes taking off and landing in these areas.
2. Installing Bird Spikes
Installing spikes is a simple and clever way of controlling birds at airports, protecting aircraft and air traffic control assets from potential harm. Placing spikes on ledges, ledges, signs, radar equipment structures, and other areas that birds would normally perch on or nest in creates an attractive-looking yet uncomfortable environment for them. This, in turn, reduces the birds’ presence in any given area and helps reduce their impact on any facility they may enter. Not only do they require low maintenance, but they last for many years without needing replacement.
3. Using Radar Sytems
Radar systems have become increasingly relied upon to prevent disruption by monitoring bird activity and taking countermeasures accordingly. Radar systems can detect flocks up to two miles out, allowing airport authorities a great deal of time to assess best potential strategies – such as dispersal protocols or stopping planes from taking off.
Moreover, the data these radar systems collect is invaluable for long-term planning and decision-making. By analyzing the size and behavior of bird flocks detected by the radar system, airports can focus on making their environment less attractive for birds and other pests, which would otherwise be attracted to flight paths or areas where passengers congregate.
Airport bird control is a multi-faceted task, and one of the most reliable methods for keeping birds away is through decoys. These lifelike figures can be used to scare away birds, but their effectiveness depends on location, layout, and longevity. If used correctly in the right place and maintained regularly, they can remain productive for years. They come in the form of plastic hawks and owl shapes that cascade across runways or pose atop poles along newly built walls. Decoys are an affordable way to keep birds at bay with no harm, making them a win-win solution for airports.
5. Using Natural Repellents
Natural deterrents are a cost-effective, eco-friendly solution for airports looking to deter birds from their premises. The most commonly used are chili pepper and garlic powder, both of which have intense smells that birds find unpleasant.
Pepper, in particular, has been proven to work since studies have shown that birds get irritated by its pungent odor and will stay away if it is present. Appropriate application of these can be done using a pump sprayer, and airports should also consider planting foliage with scents like eucalyptus or mint that birds find distasteful.
6. Hazing Techniques
To protect planes and air traffic humanely, airports are leveraging sound waves, lights, and other stimuli to deter birds.
For instance, tone generators produce high frequencies that create an uncomfortable environment for birds, while propane cannons let out loud booms that disrupt their daily routines. Light-based repellents also provide an effective solution for reducing bird populations around airports. From blinking strobes to intense laser pointers, these systems make open areas appear chaotic and uninviting – discouraging birds from settling in areas close to runways and taxiways.
7. Habitat Modification
For airports that struggle with bird control, habitat management can often be the most effective way to handle the issue. Traditionally, areas with airports have used noise deterrents or visual distractions. Still, these can be difficult to keep up with and are not always effective at preventing birds from approaching the airspace. That’s where habitat modification comes into play — a more comprehensive approach for keeping birds away from airports.
Habitat modifications focus on removing food sources, nesting materials and generally changing the environment to make it less appealing to birds. Different strategies include trimming trees, and branches, using netting to cover attractive areas, and even covering drainage areas to reduce standing water. Other methods include manipulating the land so it’s less suitable for birds and using lighting, lasers, and sound systems to disrupt bird behaviors.
There are many humane airport bird control methods that can be employed to keep birds and other pests away from airports. From radar systems that detect bird activity to decoys, natural repellents, hazing techniques, and habitat modifications, these strategies have proven effective in deterring birds and preserving air safety. While all of these solutions are viable options, the most effective strategy depends on an airport’s location, layout, and size.
Consulting a professional prior to implementing any of these methods is always recommended. Additionally, it’s important to remember that prevention is key when it comes to keeping birds away from airports — so regularly inspecting the area for signs of infestation or food sources will go a long way in reducing pest interference. By following the right steps and taking the necessary precautions, airports can enjoy safe skies — free of birds. **Happy Flying!**