Eastern Wildlife Damage Control Conferences


Date of this Version

October 1993


Bird-aircraft strikes at the Atlantic City International Airport (ACY) increased from 18 in 1989 to 37 in 1990. The number of bird-aircraft strikes involving gulls (Larus spp.) during this time rose from 6 to 27, a 350% increase. The predominant species involved in bird strikes was the laughing gull (L. atricilla). Pursuant to an interagency agreement between the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)l Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)/Animal Damage Control (ADC), ADC established a Emergency/Experimental Bird Hazard Reduction Force (BHFF) at ACY in 1991. An Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the 1991 Emergency/Experimental BHRF was executed and signed by the FAA on 19 May 1991. The BHRF was adopted at this time by the FAA Technical Center as an annual program to reduce bird strikes at ACY. The BHRF goals are to minimize or eliminate the incidence of bird-aircraft strikes and runway closures due to increased bird activities. A BHRF team consisting of ADC personnel patrolled ACY for 95 days from 26 May until 28 August 1992, for a total of 2,949 person-hours. The BHRF used a combination of pyrotechnics, amplified gull distress tapes and live ammunition to harass gulls away from the airport from dawn to dusk. Gullaircraft strikes were reduced during BHRF operations in 1992 by 86% compared to gull strikes during summer months of 1990 when there was not a BHRF team. Runway closures due to bird activity decreased 100% compared to 1990 and 1991 closures. The BHRF should continue at ACY as long as birds are a threat to human safety and aircraft operations.