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3 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION The impetus for this synthesis is to provide airport managers personnel have been aware of these issues for decades (Sol- and biologists with a document that reviews the tools, meth- man 1973; Blokpoel 1976). Since the inception of the FAA ods, techniques, and procedures for reducing bird collisions National Wildlife Strike Database in 1990, 99,411 reported with aircraft (i.e., bird strikes) and their relative effectiveness wildlife strikes to airplanes have resulted in at least $1.2 bil- into a single treatise. The management of wildlife in the con- lion annually in losses (damage to aircraft and associated text of aviation, specifically the reduction of wildlife strikes costs) to civil aviation worldwide and more than $625 million to aircraft, is a unique application of wildlife damage man- annually in the United States, in addition to more than 200 agement. Wildlife damage management typically involves human lives lost (Allan 2002; Dolbeer et al. 2010). The vast overabundant species and their effect on human property majority (97.4%) of all wildlife strikes involve birds. (Conover 2002; Cleary and Dolbeer 2005). However, wild- life damage to aircraft may have immediate implications Before the jet age of air travel, bird strikes were less com- for human safety. Consequently, airport managers must fre- mon because piston-powered aircraft were noisy and rela- quently take immediate action to mitigate risk. Wildlife spe- tively slow, and the number of aircraft was comparatively cies involved with aviation hazard may not be overabundant; low. Birds could often avoid collisions, and in the event of a populations may be within biological and cultural carrying strike, damage was minimal. Modern jet aircraft are much capacity outside of airspace, but their presence within air- faster and relatively quiet compared with their piston-pow- space is hazardous and unwanted. ered predecessors; this changes the dynamics of bird and aircraft interactions dramatically. Control techniques should be implemented in the con- text of an airport hazard management plan or program. The skies are becoming increasingly crowded with air- Airport personnel are inherently and legally responsible to craft and hazardous bird species (Dolbeer 2009). Aircraft reduce aviation risk using a myriad of methods given the movements increased about 3% per year between 1985 and constraints of resources and time. Biologists face consid- 2004 (Dolbeer 2009). Many species of wildlife also have erable uncertainty regarding the effectiveness of specific increased in the last half-century, including those species techniques under given conditions and circumstances. Fur- that pose the most risk to aviation (Dolbeer et al. 2000). thermore, animals adapt and change behavior in response Many of these species exceed the airframe and engine cer- to techniques--what worked last time may not work simi- tification standards for wildlife strikes [e.g., Canada geese larly when reapplied. Biologists should be equipped with the (Branta canadensis)]. These parallel factors create a consid- most current information on the effectiveness of harassment, erable need to employ risk mitigation measures that effec- deterrent, and repellent techniques, and adequate empiri- tively reduce bird strikes. cal data should be readily available. For these methods to be meaningful, they must be integrated with principles of Dolbeer (2006) noted that 66% of wildlife strikes result- avian ecology. Techniques must be founded on ecological ing in substantial damage to aircraft occurred less than 500 principles to be effective, and both managers and biologists ft above ground level (AGL), effectively 10,000 ft from the should understand and appreciate that relationship. airfield based on a 3° glideslope (Foundation 2000; Black- well et al. 2009). About 95% of bird strikes occur less than 3,500 ft AGL (Dolbeer 2006). At that altitude, aircraft BIRDS AND AIRCRAFT: UNDERSTANDING THE would be within about 5 miles of the airfield for the busi- INTERACTION est airports (Federal Aviation Administration 2008). Dol- beer (2011) reported that bird-strike rates above 500 ft AGL Aircraft collisions with birds and other wildlife (wildlife have increased since 1990, whereas strike rates below 500 strikes) pose increasing safety and financial concerns to the ft AGL have decreased during that period. These empirical aviation industry worldwide. Recent events such as the forced data suggest that recent wildlife management on airports landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River have has reduced strike rates and damaging strikes (Dolbeer renewed public interest in risks to aircraft posed by wildlife 2011); however, airport sponsors and managers are legally (Marra et al. 2009). However, wildlife biologists and aviation obligated [Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations, part 139 (14