In many developing areas, the issue of solid waste management in cities is rapidly becoming an environmental and economic issue as cities are centers of garbage production. Tons of municipal solid waste, mainly comprising of nonhazardous garbage, and trash from homes, institutions, and industrial facilities often end-up in urban landfills which might as well be the Bat signal lighting up the skies of Gotham for hungry animals. Landfill construction for solid waste disposal not only removes suitable habitats for certain wildlife species but also enhances certain other human-wildlife interactions. Such interactions may have both positive as well as negative impacts on wildlife populations. Waste landfills are reliable and rich sources of food, approximately one third of our left-over food finds its way to a landfill and food does not stop being food once we throw it out. These man-made habitats can support large populations of different species of wildlife.
Unusually high population inflations of few opportunistic species of birds can impose a severe impact on the overall ecological balance. With the huge issue cities are having with crow populations roosting in many downtown areas they are often attracted to these landfills during the winter months by the thousands. Also, when food is scarce in the urban agricultural areas due to frozen fields and picked over crops many species of gulls will use landfills as well. And if you have ever had the pleasure of visiting a landfill in the winter it can be summed as a scene out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie, The Birds. This is also becoming an issue disrupting the migration of some species of birds, for example one population of white storks is deciding to stay behind, seemingly canceling its migratory flight south in favor of gorging on rotting food found in Portuguese landfills.
On the other hand, with the trending decline in many natural habitats, human modified habitats such as landfills are increasingly becoming important habitats for numerous avian species. As birds adapt to an environment increasingly dominated by humans, their social behavior and demography is likely to change. As major changes in waste management and disposal practices such as changing from landfilling to incineration can potentially have sizeable impacts on bird populations depending on landfills, better understanding of the extent and patterns of daily use of landfills by birds and their seasonal dynamics in abundance is incredibly important. Such ecological information would be useful for regulatory agencies and local governments in decision making pertaining to the management of landfills. However, limited or no studies in literature have investigated the effects of landfills on the spatial and temporal distribution of birds and other wildlife species foraging at landfills.
With municipal waste expected to double by the year 2025 it is safe to say that not only is this a problem today, but it will certainly be an increasingly huge problem for the future! Only time will tell if the garbage is actually “good” for the birds, as dump-diving could lead the animals to accidentally ingest all sorts of plastic, toxins, and other hazardous material. Similarly, studies have yet to be conducted on the potential ecological impacts of the birds’ ditching their southern migration.
There is a new technique being used on airports to control wildlife and even in cities to combat the over population of crows. This technique dates to Ancient Egypt and is used in pretty much every culture throughout the timeline of history, FALCONRY, or the use of Raptors!
Falconry is the hunting of wild animals in their natural state and habitat by means of a trained bird of prey. Small animals are hunted; squirrels and rabbits often fall prey to these birds. Raptors have long been recognized as an efficient and effective method of problem bird control. Depending on the habitat setting or which species are causing problems, Loomacres will modify abatement strategies to ensure that all nuisance issues can be addressed. Typically, Loomacres staff will continuously harass nuisance wildlife throughout the entire day to present a constant threat to nuisance species. However, some nuisance species do not require such rigorous harassment, and a staggered schedule can be supplemented.
Loomacres recommends that multiple non-lethal harassment techniques be utilized in conjunction with raptor abatement. At airports, many birds pose a bird strike risk, and are necessary to manage. Raptors are an ideal solution for controlling a variety of species, including gulls, starlings, dunlin, crows, robins, geese, and other birds.
As natural predators of these (sometimes unwelcome) species, hawks, falcons, and eagles are a fantastic alternative to shooting, poisoning, or trapping. By using time honored falconry techniques, we can successfully and naturally patrol and manage these problematic species.
Aside from airports more and more cities are using raptors to manage the overwhelming crow populations in metropolitan areas. (Click Here for Video) By simply introducing a natural predator to these urban areas the crows will typically abandon their roosting spots at night and keep it moving.
With more and more people becoming aware of the benefits of using Falconry for wildlife control and just seeing the effectiveness of these prolific hunters its pretty safe to say we may be seeing a new trend unfold in front of our eyes. (click here related article) We at Loomacres love our raptors and are continuing to develop new strategies to use them for clients in need.
For more information about how we can help you, fill out the fields below and someone will reach out shortly.
WHaMRAT and You
Deer, Vultures and Geese. These 3 species groups take the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for damaging aircraft as ranked by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and as such are the top 3 thorns in the side for airport managers and wildlife professionals alike. By no means though are these the only threats to aviation, with coyotes, cormorants, and various raptors amongst the dozens of species that must be dealt with to protect an airport from damaging strikes. Every airport deal with wildlife in one form or another, from the heavy deer populations in the East to the huge waterfowl migrations of the West. We all deal with it, but how to we know how bad we really have it? What if there was a software program that allowed airport staff to succinctly rank their airfield to know how much of a threat their local deer population poses to their aircraft? Well, you are in luck! This program already exists, and its name is WHaMRAT.
The “Wildlife Hazard and Management Risk Assessment Tool”, which is a long way to say WHaMRAT, is a dynamic modeling tool which takes your wildlife data, in addition to their own formulas within a plug-n-play style spreadsheet (actually 3 spreadsheets in total) to produce a score to reflect your airport’s Overall Aggregate Wildlife Risk (OAWR). This is a scale-based score, with a range of 1-5, with 1 being the low and the 5 the high score. So, this scale is more like golf than it is like baseball, with the lower scores coming out on top.
So what information is required for this program to work? I am glad you asked. This formula takes 4 factors into account, including 1) wildlife presence/abundance, 2) monthly average aircraft ops, 3) incompatible locations of current habitat and 4) current mitigation actions for both habitat and wildlife. In addition to rating current efforts, future mitigation can be added to the equation to assess its effectiveness, known in the program as Future-Projected Results.
In addition, this program is also separated into 2 versions, EZ and Advanced. For most users, the EZ version will give a comprehensive overview, while the Advanced version gains more detail via using fewer general data, such as gauging the likelihood of the strike for a specific species rather than using a group/guild like in the EZ format.
Taking a small step back to the three spreadsheets required to gain the Overall Aggregate Score, first you must calculate your Aggregate Wildlife Risk Score, which involves the presence/abundance of guilds as well as their likelihood of a strike. The second sheet concerns Ops, with Monthly Average Aircraft Operations taking the number of operations, with aircraft type also coming into play to gain the Operations Adjustment. The final computation is the Habitat Adjustment – Mitigated. This score is governed by the presence/absence of incompatible habitat and its distance from the airport. Any mitigation of incompatible habitat as well as mitigation of specific wildlife guilds are also considered in this spreadsheet. Each of these scores will plot onto a pre-determined graphic, which highlights wildlife risk versus each adjustment in a color-coded scale (Green, Yellow, Red).
Once your individual scores have been calculated and plotted, they can then be plugged into the fourth and final worksheet, which takes each of these outputs, and pops out your Overall Aggregate Wildlife Risk Score, which can then be plotted onto its own graphic.
In summation, WHaMRAT provides every airport, regardless of type or size, with a comprehensive score for the assessment of the severity of their wildlife risks. It should also be noted that these scores are dynamic as well, so in the coming years, as airfield continue to mitigate their hazard risks, these scores and their amendments can show numerically the efforts of an airport to reduce hazards to increase safety for everyone to easily recognize.
To learn more about WHaMRAT, you can find the entire text of the publication of text can be found on The National Press website titled “Applying an SMS approach to Wildlife Hazard Management”. Or fill out the contact fields below and someone from Loomacres will reach out.
One of the reasons why all bird strikes are should be reported in the FAA Strike Database whether or not they cause damage to the aircraft and whatever bird/wildlife species was involved, is that experience of the analysis of bird remains collected after strikes by experts has shown that the species reported as involved are frequently incorrect. Other reasons include:
The information that is commonly sought in a bird strike report includes:
Care must be exercised while interpreting the data collected. For example, an airport with an increasing rate of bird strikes is not necessarily becoming a riskier location. The total number of strikes at an airport, taken in isolation, is not a good indicator of risk; examination of the data by species struck and the distinguishing of multiple from single strikes is critical. If an increase in recorded strikes is attributable to an increase in incidents caused by encounters with single small birds, whereas the number of strikes involving large bird species and/or flocks of birds is falling, then this may well be indicative of both better bird control and better reporting of strikes.
For more information on Strike Reporting or how to report a strike please fill out the fields below and someone from Loomacres Wildlife Management will contact you.
Every year Loomacres Wildlife Management holds its Advanced Wildlife and BASH Training with a focus on advanced techniques. The course is designed to improve your skills in wildlife management and make your airport a safer place! This training is ideal for any airport operator who is implementing a wildlife management program, is involved with wildlife management, or would like to make a management program more effective.
Seminars will be conducted on many wildlife management topics that will be followed by extended Q and A periods. Classroom sessions will be augmented with extensive "hands-on" training. Students will all get a chance to practice the techniques we will be teaching. In addition to hands-on training, the multi-day design of this course also allows us to cover all aspects of wildlife hazards at airports. This course will be taught by experienced airport biologists with diverse backgrounds.
This course is approved by the FAA to fulfill the training requirements for an airport wildlife biologist conducting wildlife hazard assessments under Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 139 and FAA Advisory Circular 150/5200-36A. Training of this type is required for biologists who wish to write airport wildlife assessments or conduct airport wildlife training sessions. The course also meets the requirements for qualified biologists that need to renew their FAA qualifications.
Topics Covered each training class are as followed:
· Mammal Identification
· All Required FAA Curriculum
· Trapping Techniques
· Bird Identification
· All Required USFWS Curriculum
· Avian Biology
· Control Techniques
· Strike Reporting
· Liability Concerns
· Wildlife Hazard Management
· Harassment Techniques
· Pyrotechnics Handling and Safety
· Wildlife Hazard Assessments
· Wildlife Management Plans
· State Regulations
· Federal Regulations
So, if you or your airport staff needs to brush up on some of your techniques or fulfill your FAA Qualifications for training, this class is the one to attend. For more information and how to sign up, please fill out the fields below.
From Portland Oregon, to Rochester Minnesota, and even Watertown NY it seems every year more and more crows are gathering in the winter months and taking over the night skies. Thousands of crows also known as a murder of crows, flock together and roost in just about every city in the country, especially those in northern states. As if 2020 could get any stranger, click here and see for yourself the number of news stories reporting crow destruction or infestation. So, if a few geese in your yard can leave plenty of feces behind imagine what 15,000 leave behind in just one night; click here to find out!
The American crow populations have generally expanded in size and range over the past few decades. This comes even in the wake of the West Nile Virus in 1999, in which American crows exhibited the highest death rate of any species impacted by the disease. The American crow population was estimated to have been decimated by up to 45% by the virus. However crow populations were able to recover and bounce back and are estimated by the BirdLife Fact List to be over 31 million in 2019.
Well, if you are sick of your city skyline looking like something out of a horror movie there are a few techniques we at Loomacres Wildlife Management have used to keep these birds from flocking in certain areas.
When people hear about Loomacres Wildlife Management they tend to ask the same question; “so what exactly do you do?”. It is every marketing departments dream to have brand recognition with just one word, or just one logo. But not everyone is Coke or Pepsi, or Samsung, Chevy, or Ford. But we would like to think that our company is getting there when it comes to airport wildlife management.
So, let us start with what we do for our clients, and there is no better example of this than USAir Flight 1549 emergency landing in the Hudson River or better known for the movie Sully in which the pilot is played by Tom Hanks. In that scenario an airplane took off from La Guardia on January 15th, 2009 and a bird strike occurred! To be more specific the plane collided with a flock of geese, and geese pose as a major threat to airports. The plane was forced to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River and thankfully no one was seriously hurt or killed. So where do we fit into this story? We are the people that make sure those types of accidents do not happen! We keep you, your family, and your loved ones safe when they travel through the air. But do not worry that was not one of our clients otherwise Tom Hanks would not have been nominated for Best Actor of the year.
The first thing we do for our clients is a Wildlife Hazard Assessment . Loomacres has certified trained airport wildlife biologists specializing in FAA approved Wildlife Hazard Assessments (WHA). Our biologists analyze the strike history at the airport for seasonal, temporal, and diurnal trends. By identifying any trends this helps us develop a mitigation plan custom to that specific airport. From there we identify any attractants on the airport (food, water, habitat). Our goal is to simply find the problems or species that pose a threat to aircraft and passenger safety and develop a strategy to eliminate further harm. That strategy is called a Wildlife Hazard Management Plan or WHMP. This document is created based around using a tool called WHaMRAT or Wildlife Hazard Management Risk Assessment Tool. This plan will guide the airport in reducing the potential for bird and wildlife strikes while maintaining a suitable environment for both people and wildlife.
For more information on Loomacres or how to implement this process to your own airport, please fill out the contact fields below.
4 Methods to Help Identify SNARGE?
So, your airport just had a bird strike, and you must collect all the evidence, now what? Well we know we must collect the SNARGE (Species Not Accurately Recognized Given Evidence) to properly identify the species involved, act against immediate threats, and avoid future risk. So how do you properly identify the species involved? Here four ways to help identify SNARGE (bird ick).
1) Bird Feathers: A Guide to North American Species by S. David Scott & Casey McFarland is a great resource to help identify birds not only involved in your bird strike but inhabiting your airport. We at Loomacres Wildlife Management use this book in all our on-site trainings.
2) Contact your local Wildlife Biologist. This may not be the most time sensitive matter for your local Department of Wildlife staff, but it is absolutely an option if you are having trouble identifying your SNARGE.
3) The Feather Atlas or https://www.fws.gov/lab/featheratlas/ to be exact: By using this link you can input certain traits of the feathers collected into a database that should assist in accurately identifying your species. This is a great tool and fun to play around on.
4) The Smithsonian Museum! That is right you can send in your SNARGE to Carla Dove at the Smithsonian Institution, Feather Identification Lab will take your collected remains and identify your species using their tools and methods. You can send in your samples to the addresses below.
To see a step by step video of how to collect SNARGE please watch below.
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