Birds and aviation: how to scare away, saving birds and planes?

Birds and aviation: how to scare away, saving birds and planes?
Bioacoustic installation AERO-1C at the airport of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

Bird strikes pose a serious threat to aviation. Air accidents involving birds are not very common, but if it happens, the plane receives significant damage and the airline bears huge financial loses caused by flight delays, the cost of spare parts and repairs. It is believed that large birds weighing more than 300 grams cause most problems but medium-sized birds are dangerous for aircraft as well. Another serious problem is that some of these birds are rare, or even included in the Red list. 


According to Russian legislation, all the airports in Russia are obliged, first of all, to organize ecological and ornithological observation of the territory of the airport and adjacent territories, and, secondly, to describe in detail all the accidents with birds. It helps to minimize the risks as well as reduces the damage done to birds, inhabiting territories adjacent to airports. Among the members of Sakhalin branch of BirdsRussia there are airport employees who routinely perform tasks to prevent incidents with birds and specialists who provide the airports with expert services in ornithological observations and investigations of bird strikes. 

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A young Slaty-backed  Gull was killed   
in a collision with an aircraft

In 2015 Sakhalin branch of BirdsRussia conducted an ecological and ornithological inspection of "Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk" airport and as a result recommendations for aviation personnel were drawn up. We recommended to remove shrubs and bushes from the airfield, regularly mow the grass, thus making the territory not interesting for birds. It is important that there are no wetlands that can attract waterfowl during the flight and if there are, they need to be drained. Using bioacoustic installations can eliminate conditions for nesting on the rooftops of buildings and airfield constructions such as lighting masts, a chimney of a boiler room, antennas of cellular communication. During spring migration moveable installations «Bird Gard» Super Pro and «Hunter signals» are especially effective. Protection nests installed over the beds of water bodies, if they are located on the airfield, will protect aircraft from scared bird flocks during take-off and landing. There should not be any dumps attracting birds in he proximity of the airport and food waste of plane and airport kitchens should be stored in closed containers and disposed of in the areas inaccessible to birds. In day time there should not be any earthworks at the airfield as loosened soil facilitate the feeding for birds, eating invertebrates including large species of gulls. To avoid the arrival of small birds that in turn attract large predators there should not be any farms, slaughterhouses, piggeries, barns, poultry farms, animal farms, fish ponds within 15 km of the airport. We recommended to the administration of Sakhalin region to close the existing solid waste landfill and move it beyond the 15 km area.  


It was suggested that the airport purchases bioacoustic installations "Universal Acoustics", AERO-1C and "Bird Gard" Super Pro and the scheme of their arrangement was proposed. Vega Gull, Common Gull, Black-headed Gull and Black-tailed Gull and Glaucous Gull, who are often the culprits of the collisions, can be frightened off with the help of a wind machine. 


Time has confirmed the effectiveness of our recommendations. No bird strikes were recorded in two years since the bioacoustic installations were set up at the territory of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk airport. 


Project coordinator — head of the Sakhalin branch of BirdsRussia, PhD Pavel Sergeevich Ktitorov (pktitorov @


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