Increasingly sophisticated tools help reduce bird strikes

Wildlife managers may be able to use fake falcon robot drones and lasers to reduce bird collisions with aircraft. Aircraft strikes are often fatal for birds and can cause damage or even death to humans in rare cases. But managers are adding increasingly sophisticated tools to their toolbox including drones shaped like peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) as well as lasers to get the birds off the runways. According to some statistics, these techniques are working. While strike numbers increased up until 2000, possibly due in part to increasing numbers of airstrikes being reported rather than an actual increase in strikes, collisions causing damage to aircraft have dropped by 8% since 2000. But researchers are still looking to improve these statistics. One method that would help is more specific radars that would alert pilots about nearby birds. More accurate radars may be coupled with algorithms to give pilots and ground control staff real time tracking that could help them avoid bird strikes.

Read more at Wired.

Header Image: A Wildlife Services biologist prepares an American kestrel (Falco sparverius), for relocation away from the airport where it was trapped. ©USDA APHIS