Airport Bird Control

Airport bird control has received more media and public attention since the emergency crash landing of a commercial airliner into the Hudson River in 2009 after it collided with a flock of geese shortly after takeoff.  It is not uncommon for aircraft to collide with birds, large and small.  Collisions with larger birds or groups of birds such as geese and cranes can be especially damaging, potentially bringing the aircraft down.Airport-Geese.jpg

There are several bird control approaches that can be taken.  No one option will be 100% effective, although some may come close depending on the situation and level of bird pressure.  With the right mix of bird deterrents and the proper use of them, specific to airports, a favorable result can be reached.  As with any other bird control plan of action, better results will come by maintaining the element of surprise for the birds.  This means not overusing deterrent devices by operating them continuously.  At an airport, air traffic control can keep watch over the airfield, alerting ground personnel to specific bird movements and by activating some devices remotely, using them only when needed (when flocks move into the area or when aircraft are taking off or landing).  It is also beneficial to the bird pest management plan to frequently relocate deterrent devices.  It is good management practice to eliminate any features around the airport, if possible, that might attract birds, such as bodies of water, feeding sites, nesting area and roosting sites.

Many airports employ people whose sole job is to keeps birds away from the airfield.  They patrol the flight line equipped with scaring devices such as sirens, bird bangers and other auditory scaring devices.

Some airports use bird predators in their bird control arsenal.  Human handlers use dogs or birds of prey, such as falcons, to scare birds away.  These creatures can patrol the area, but care must be taken to keep them away from aircraft.

Propane gas cannons, also very popular in agricultural settings, are frequently usedpropane_cannon.jpg at airports.  These devices emit high decibel bangs based on a timer setting or by remote, on-demand firing.  Be careful not to overuse propane cannons, as birds can become accustomed to their thunderous bangs over time.

Reflective products, which rely on visual scaring, can be used in a limited capacity.  When used, they must be configured so as not to interfere with pilots controlling the aircraft.

Chemical based deterrents can be useful, but might be cost prohibitive and must be applied frequently to maintain effectiveness.  These chemical sprays can be applied directly to the grass and any structures.

A European product, known as the Robop, may be especially useful at airports.  The high-tech, robotic birds of prey are very lifelike.  They move and sound like real predatory birds.  One or two of these devices placed strategically may be all that is needed to keep problem birds, such as seagulls, away from a small to moderate sized airport.  Contact us regarding the Robop as we have a working relationship with the manufacturer to market this great product in the U.S.

Predator decoys, like coyotes, foxes, owls and hawks can effectively deter geese, ducks and gulls in some circumstances.  The key to using such decoys is to relocate them frequently (every few days) to keep birds thinking they are real.  If decoys sit in the same location week after week, birds will eventually realize they are being fooled.

Electronic bird distress calls and predator calls are often employed on and around the flight line.  When birds hear these noises, they become afraid and leave the area.  The system must be large enough and powerful enough to effectively cover the vast areas of airfields. 

Scare-Wars.gifOne unique, integrated bird control device, specifically designed for airport use, is the Scare Wars system.  It is sold by Reed-Joseph International in Mississippi.  This system uses an electronic distress call device and rotating propane cannon.  These systems can be set up on a computer control network that allows remote, zone based activation by air traffic control.  If the controller sees a flock of birds in a specific area, the system can be activated in that zone to drive the birds away.

As has been outlined, there are many devices and systems available for airport bird control. offers many of these products for sale and would be pleased to assist you in your quest to control bird pests at your airport.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or need assistance.

<< Return to Home page from Airport Bird Control page