Bird Strike Committee Proceedings


Date of this Version



Bird control at and around airfields is critical to safe airfield operation. Numerous bird-control products and strategies are available, all of which have limitations because of rapid habituation, ineffectiveness, expense or other factors. There is a need for new methods to manage birds at airports and other locations. In recent years, realistic effigies of dead turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) have proven effective as a species-specific means to disperse roosting vultures. To determine if this concept can be expanded to deter other birds that are a problem at airfields, we conducted trials using prepared ring-billed (Larus delawarensis) and herring (L. argentatus) gulls as effigies at landfills, a nesting colony, and a containment disposal facility (CDF) next to an airport. Results at landfills varied with distance to the active dumping area (active face) and time of year. In winter, gulls loafing away from the active face would stay clear of effigies for up to 4 weeks. When set on or adjacent to the active face, gulls would initially disperse but then return within hours to weeks. Effigies were not effective in nesting colonies. Gull reaction to effigies at a CDF showed initial good response, especially when reinforced with pyrotechnics and lethal control but habituation occurred after 2 months of exposure. We conclude that gull effigies can reduce gull presence in specified areas when used as part of an integrated bird control program. However, effigies alone will not keep gulls away from extensive areas.