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Airport Operations 35 The process for obtaining a migratory bird depredation permit (needed for all federal migra- tory birds except starlings, pigeons, and English sparrows) from the USFWS is as follows: The applicant obtains and completes the one-page application form (airports are exempt from the application fee). USDA Wildlife Services recommends a permit for approval to the USFWS, including the species, numbers, and conditions. The USFWS approves the recommendation and issues a permit. The airport operator fills out an annual report reviewing the number, species, and methods used to take wildlife from the airfield. The permit is easily renewed after the annual report is received. A state's wildlife management agency may issue wildlife removal permits. No permit is required for rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, coyotes, woodchucks, weasels, and striped skunks if they are caus- ing damage. For deer, bears, and moose, a permit is needed from the local area wildlife office. For state-protected birds and routinely controlled mammals, a permit is needed. Airport operators should be aware of local firearm ordinances even with mammals for which no permits are needed. Wildlife Identification Identification of birds and mammals affecting an airfield is an important step toward reducing hazards. Field marks--certain characteristics of animals--make identification of the species of wildlife that are on the airport easier. Field marks to look for when identifying wildlife are Size (larger or smaller than a robin or crow); Color(s); Color patterns (tail, wings, eye stripes); Bill type (long and skinny or short and stout); and Habitat (marsh, water, short grass, forested area). Peterson Field Guides are a useful reference for identifying wildlife. They can be found in almost any bookstore. Maintenance Inspections and Surveillance A safe and efficiently operated airport employs a successful maintenance program. This success begins with routine airport inspections and surveillance. The importance of routine inspections cannot be overstressed. If the airport is utilized on a daily basis, provisions should be made to inspect it on a daily basis. Such daily inspections are considered routine inspections. Activities such as construction or wildlife migration may require continuous surveillance to prevent hazards to aircraft. Periodic inspections are less frequent and may include specific assessments of pavements and pavement markings and recording on airfield lighting circuit performance. Special inspections include checking the airfield after an unusual condition such as an aircraft accident or meteoro- logical event. A special inspection will ensure the pavements and safety areas are clear and airfield lighting systems are functioning correctly. In the survey conducted when developing this guide- book, one airport manager shared that he would walk the runway (with a Unicom radio) for a thor- ough inspection and for exercise! Checklists should be developed and used during the inspections, with any discrepancies and cor- rective actions noted. The inspection logs should be filed and maintained to provide historical data and helpful evidence in the event airport maintenance is ever challenged in court.