Date of this Version
For all practical purposes, research in this country on the problem of bird hazards to aircraft began in 1960 with the crash of an Electra turboprop that carried 62 people to their deaths and was attributed to ingestion of starlings into the engines. In this paper I intend to review the problem and present some of the answers found by investigators in this country and, to lesser extent, abroad. The discussion will be roughly divided into two parts: 1) what: causes the problem, when, and where; and 2) what has been and is being done at airfields to reduce it. Dr. Seubert of the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center described the problem in Europe at this conference 3 years ago, so I will try to bring you up to date on the problem here. We at the Denver Wildlife Research Center have been actively engaged in few specific studies at airfields. Although we mailed a questionnaire to airport managers at 190 installations in the 22 mainland states west of the Mississippi River in 1961 and made follow-up personal visits to 25 commercial and military airfields at seasons of the year when most problems had reportedly occurred, it appeared that none would last long enough for us to undertake studies. Since then we have attempted primarily to solve crop depredation, feed lot, and roost problems with the idea that knowledge obtained from them could be adapted and applied to bird hazard problems as they arose at airfields.