Birds of prey and robot bird being used to keep birds away from airports

Eagle owl greens pest control at East Midland airports

23.8.2010 (Edie)

An eagle owl named Elliot will take off above East Midland airports in an environmentally-friendly
bid to keep the skies free of other birds.

Eagle owl greens pest control at East Midland airports

Elliot will help the area’s airports and airfields keep pigeons and other airborne
nuisances clear of the flight path of air traffic.

Gary Bullock, owner of Pinxton-based GB Pest Control, which is training Elliot
for the job, said: “Pest control is all about stopping them getting out of hand
but as a member of the Nott’s Wildlife Trust I always aim to minimize the environmental
impact when dealing with any problems.

“My team currently consists of dogs, ferrets, hawks and Elliot now provides a
further method that is not only effective, but is nature’s ways of control potentially
hazardous problems.”

The owl is one of the traditional methods of pest control used by the company
to tackle pests.

He is the latest in a line up of furry friends doing their bit to clear vermin,
including a dedicated squad of terriers and ferrets.

“Essentially we don’t see pest control purely as a job,” said Mr Bullock. “We
see it as our vocation as we care deeply about our environment, the flora and
fauna, and try to ensure that we minimize our environmental impact.

“To this end although we are fully proficient with the most up to date chemical
based pest control techniques, but find traditional methods equally effective,
and far better for the environment.”

The company does also use what it calls “more modern methods” for pest control
but says it still aims to minimize the environmental impact and any suffering.


see also


21.6.2010 (Netherlands Radio)

Robot bird of prey designed to scare birds away at airports

A Dutch company has come up with an invention designed to ensure that birds don’t
collide with jet airplanes at airports. Earlier this month a Royal Air Maroc passenger
jet was forced to turn back to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport shortly after take-off
when one of its engines blew up, probably as a result of a collision with a flock
of birds.

Many airports shoot the birds or try to chase them off in a number of different
ways, including traps and loud noises. The problem is that these measures have
only a very local effect.    



A robot shaped like a bird of prey is reportedly effective in chasing away real
birds. A company called GreenX from the town of Hengelo has developed the RoBird,
which is available shaped like an eagle, a peregrine falcon or a hawk. The company
has applied for a patent.


The RoBird flaps its wings like a real bird. GreenX director Robert Jonker says
this is how birds identify raptors. "When a bird of prey flaps its wings, it’s
on the hunt."



The downside of many of the conventional methods of chasing away birds is that
they get used to them. "After a flash or a bang birds will return if they find
out there is no real threat. On top of which most airports are very noisy anyway.
You often see crows sitting right next to a runway."


However, trials at Schiphol have shown that the RoBirds aren’t always effective
either. The robot raptors were introduced there last year, but the airport ended
the project after a number of months.


Schiphol spokesperson Mirjam Snoerwang says: "The results were unsatisfactory."  
She adds that the RoBird was beautiful and impressive to see. "As a matter of
fact, Schiphol conducts large numbers of tests to scare birds away."



At Schiphol, the number of collisions between aircraft and birds nearly doubled
last year, even though the airport has 16 bird watchers on its payroll. In teams
of two to three, they are on the job 24/7 to chase birds away from the runways.

The article includes 3 remarkable YouTube film clips of the robot birds flying,
looking stunningly realistic !


see also

Falconry Used to Secure North American Airports

25.3.2003     (National Geographic)