Over the past 30 years, the FAA has estimated that at least one plane a day is forced to land prematurely due to a collision with wildlife costing airlines $700 million in damages annually. The reality of the problem is that airplanes collide with birds and other wildlife at an astonishing rate because almost everywhere you look wildlife is living on or around airports. The Federal Aviation Administration has reported that nearly 9,000 birds are struck every year and those are just the ones being reported, So the number is estimated to be almost north of 20,000 every year. In 2018 USA Today did a story where they revealed that planes hit at least 40 birds a day!
The FAA has identified 482 bird species that were hit in the U.S. from 1990 through 2019. Airplanes run into loons, starlings, grebes, pelicans, cormorants, herons, storks, egrets, swans, ducks, vultures, hawks, eagles, cranes, sandpipers, gulls, pigeons, cuckoos, owls, turkeys, blackbirds, crows, chickadees, woodpeckers, hummingbirds, mockingbirds, parrots, bats—as well as various kinds of geese. (Animals, such as deer, struck on the ground during takeoffs and landings also make up a meaningful portion of kills.)
So why are Geese singled out so much? Well simple, their large body size, large flock size and sheer ability to cause damage on impact make them a huge target when applying wildlife management resources on your airport. The USDA says that of 10,000 plus avian strikes reported every year Geese make up about 1% of them. Of those Geese killed about 80% of them were resident geese not migratory. The biggest problem, however, has to do with the land surrounding airports. As a buffer to urban centers, most airports include a lot of undeveloped land around them. Hearty birds find this and use it as a refuge, depending on what plant, water and other natural resources are available.
Solution Time! Ok so we know geese are a huge problem how do we fight back?
Non-Lethal Management Practices tends to be employed first by just about everyone in the industry. These consist of using any means necessary to detour or disperse the geese from staging on or near the airport. Here are a few techniques used to harass the geese and scare them away.
Lethal Management Practices are typically used in extreme cases of either over population or too much potential risk! Although depredation is usually the last resort it absolutely is the most effective. Goose mitigation whether it be destroying and oiling goose nests in the spring or shooting a few as needed almost always clears the resident geese from coming back.
The FAA has really done a great job encouraging airport operators to secure grants for funding programs such as a Wildlife Hazard Assessment and Wildlife Hazard Management Plan. These programs allow private companies like Loomacres Wildlife Management Inc. to come to your airport and conduct a wide range of tests, surveys, and research to help identify how great a risk Geese and other species are on your airport. From there Loomacres will provide you with a WHMP basically an action plan with how to address these issues and how to allocate resources to do so. Loomacres also provides FAA Approved Training Seminars for your airport staff and airport operators. But most of all it is a one stop shop for all your airport wildlife management needs. As the first privately owned FAA approved airport wildlife management company, our staff of Airport Certified Biologists are trained and experienced enough to irradicate any issue. So, stop losing the battle in the skies and fill out the fields below to speak with someone at Loomacres for a free consultation.
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