Airport Business

JUN-JUL 2018

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26 airportbusiness June/July 2018 WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT jurisdiction to reduce some of those attractants, they can have a positive effect on 84 percent of those bird strikes." Weller said airports should be aware of major changes to the surrounding neighborhood to air concerns. "Anytime there is a significant land use change, whether it be a landfill, large wetlands, large bodies of water, there is always going to be a public notification process," he said. "That's when the airport and the FAA get involved and if we can provide our input and say that we see you're trying to modify this land use from this to something else and if it's something we know will be a very strong attractant, we will do everything we can to work with them." Building strong relationships with the community can help address issues and build a working relationship with the community to keep on top of these potential issues. "Nothing really beats boots on the ground. Many of these airports have a wildlife biologist who goes around and talks to the neighbors," Weller said. "It may not result in changes to the land use, but it really sets the foundation for a good working relationship." KESTREL STUDY MAKES PROMISING OPPORTUNITY The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has studied American kestrel population since 2015 to learn more about managing the birds at airports and determine if they will return to an airfield when translocated. The study, "The evaluation of translocation as a management tool for American kestrels in an airport setting," is being coordinated by the Wildlife Services National Wildlife Research Center and will conclude December 2020. Brian Washburn, research wildlife biologist with the USDA APHIS Wildlife Services, said the agency has been looking at management of raptors and translocation of airports and recently was able to publish the first study related to red tail hawks and translocation. Kestrels are of particular notice now, Washburn said, because there's a nationwide decline in kestrel populations. "There are a number of theories as to why they're declining, but no one knows for sure," he said. "But because they show up frequently at airports, we thought this was a good opportunity to look at this species in particular regarding how to best manage them through a non-lethal means." Washburn said the study is looking at effective ways to translocate the birds, what's the minimum distance they need to take the birds and what are the return rates of the kestrels to an airport. Each bird in the study is given a unique color band and if they show up at an airport or involved in a bird strike, they can be reported. It started out as a localized effort, but since went nationwide. "All 50 of our state programs were invited to participate and currently most of our states are involved in it," he said. "It provides us some opportunities to look at kestrels throughout their annual cycle. With an exception of a southeastern species, most kestrels will breed in the north an winter in the south." Samantha DiLorenzo, wildlife specialist for the USDA APHIS Wildlife Services, is stationed at University Park Airport (UNV) in State College, Pennsylvania, and was able to capture and relocate one of the birds to a park about 15 miles away. Her bird did return and was involved with an aircraft strike, but the low return rate of the birds overall is promising. "We're all doing our best to give data to this study," she said. "We're all looking for other methods to manage wildlife at airports. It's an ongoing thing. You're always learning new BUILDING SOLUTIONS... On budget, on schedule, on target... Cost-efficient building solutions from Varco Pruden Buildings provide attractive and affordable structures for: • hangars • flight based operations • cargo facilities • aircraft maintenance With our value-engineered steel framed building systems, recycled material content and long-life "cool paint" choices, VP Buildings can provide energy-efficient structures to help curb operating costs. Find out more. This free brochure is available at Varco Pruden Buildings is a division of BlueScope Buildings North America, Inc.

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