Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Posts Tagged ‘hazing’

December 31, 2009

Birds shot at Oakland Airport now in care at IBRRC

Dear Friends,

Recent bird hazing efforts at Oakland International Airport have raised concerns about how the birds were shot and left to die and why authorities didn’t alert local wildlife agencies.

Late on December 23, International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) was asked to assist in capturing injured birds spotted just south of the Oakland airport. Early the next morning two of our response team members worked with California Department of Fish and Game and East Bay Regional Parks to pick up four dead birds and capture what turned out to be five injured shot birds. Three of these birds have since died while two Western Gulls that sustained gun shot wounds are in a guarded condition and still in care at IBRRC’s seabird rescue center in Fairfield.

It has now been reported that the birds were killed by contractors hired by the Oakland International Airport who contracts with the USDA to haze (frighten) birds away from the area if they are deemed a hazard to aircraft.

IBRRC supports any and all humane methods to haze birds away from airports. If these methods are not effective and government officials approve the killing of birds near an airport, it is our opinion that this must be done quickly, professionally and humanely. This also means that the bodies of dead birds should be picked up and any live injured birds should be humanely euthanized.

In the case of the Oyster Point incident local authorities were not informed that birds would be shot. At least 60 birds of various species, including brown pelicans, were shot and their bodies left floating in the area creating a concern that a poaching incident had occurred. Additionally a number of live injured birds with broken wings and other injuries were found by the public creating an unnecessary incident that created emotional stress to peoples lives and increased expenses to IBRRC, who is incurring the cost of the capture and the rehabilitation of the remaining two gulls.

We hope that the Oakland Airport will be investigated for what we consider a negligent “take” of birds near the airport and the inhumane, thoughtless and careless act of leaving injured live birds and the bodies of over 50 dead birds in the area. We hope that this will result in the Oakland Airport making the appropriate changes in their bird hazing protocols.

Jay Holcomb
, Executive Director
International Bird Rescue Research Center

News reports:

Birds killed to protect planes at Oakland airport: Oakland Tribune

August 17, 2009

Bird hazing twist at airports: Warning birds visually

A new idea in hazing birds from busy airport flight paths includes the idea that birds can be warned when they’re in harms way. According to a recent NPR news report, some wildlife biologists are testing their theory by communicating with them visually.

“Vision is the primary sensory pathway in birds,” says a researcher. He and his research team hope to “play upon that sensory pathway, understand it and use the lights that are on the aircraft basically to buy time for the aircraft — and buy time for the birds.”

After US Airways jet hit geese after takeoff from a New York airport and made an emergency landing in the Hudson River in January, it turned spotlight on the high level of bird strikes. Airports try a lot of tricks to keep birds away, but now some researchers are shining light on a possible solution.

At Plum Brook Station, a 6,000-acre, high-security government campus near Sandusky, Ohio, scientists are literally flying a plane at groups of geese and watching how they react. It’s a radio-controlled model plane — a 9-foot wingspan aircraft that looks like a miniature Cessna.

It’s a phenomenon that others have investigated less formally. One effort mentioned in a National Transportation Safety Board report in May was by Qantas Airlines. The Australian carrier reported a 10- to 40-percent drop in bird strike rates after they mounted pulsating lights on their 737s.

Read and listen to the full report on the NPR website

May 19, 2009

When hazing birds doesn’t go well

Keeping birds out of places we humans don’t want them to be has always been an inexact science.

No more than these pictures demonstrate from Valdez, Alaska where a owl decoy is supposed to be keeping Arctic Terns away from a entrance to a boat dock area.

Notice the eggs in the second picture. NOT exactly working!

These pictures are from Jay Holcomb, IBRRC’s Executive Director, who is in Valdez this week working on a big oil spill drill with bird rescue’s Alaska representative, Barbara Callahan.

However, bird hazing is serious business in oil spill response. So much so that the Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) and the California Department of Fish and Game came out last year with a Bird Hazing Manual: Techniques and Strategies for Dispersing Birds from Spill Sites. You can download it here