Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

November 1976


During the 1966 Bird Control Seminar, we began to look at birds as a hazard to air- craft, and a possible new role was emerging for the pest control industry. Ten years later, we have yet to see the concept of bird control as seen through the eyes of our Canadian and European counterparts. You know of the assistance role the Air Force is playing in reducing bird strikes, and the Federal Aviation Administration is beginning to actively participate in bird control programs. Success has been seen in habitat modification as a means of reducing bird strikes. The Canadians (Blokpoel, 1976) have reduced damaging bird strikes significantly. Air Canada’s average yearly cost for damage in 1959-63 was $173,000. From 1969-73, just ten years later, this figure was reduced to an average of $86,000 per year. This is remarkable when you con- sider the increases in flight operations, repair costs, and inflation over the ten-year period. Modification of the airfield environment is possible, and the Air Force is doing it routinely at many bases. A more complex problem is land use, which attracts birds beyond the airfield boundary. An airport authority or military base has little or no control over matters outside its territory. Usually it is extremely difficult to implement recommendations to reduce known bird hazards. Progress is slow in altering community land because of a wide variety of organizational, legal, financial, or political reasons. Certain land use practices must be examined in preparing comprehensive plans and bird control programs. Scientists and technicians working with birds have the necessary knowledge to identify problems with land use which will aid in planning for the future. To appreciate the problems created by land use, we must examine a few uses found near airports.