Saturday, January 02, 2021

Experts suggest ways to reduce hazards posed by birds to flights

Habitat management of birds, preventing breeding on airport premises and discouraging people from dumping waste nears airports and airfields can reduce hazards posed by birds to aircraft, a publication by the Salim Ali Centre For Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) points out.

The document, “Best Practices for Mitigation of the Hazards Posed by Birds to Aircraft”, made public by SACON a few weeks ago, emphasises on habitat management at airfields.

“Location specific habitat management information is needed to reduce the number of bird-aircraft conflicts. The habitat management is aimed at reducing the attractiveness of sites for challenging bird species by reducing the availability of food, water, cover and roosting sites,” it says

The advisory — running into 19 pages and prepared by scientists P. Pramod and P.V. Karunakaran — points out that a systematic study of birdlife at an airfield and understanding the bird community structure and its changes are essential for mitigating the dangers posed by birds to flights.

The document states that water flows related to irrigation and water stagnation of any type should be prevented. It says that ornithological training for the Air Traffic Control ( ATC) staff focussing on problematic birds would help them take adequate decision. The experts also recommend that a database be prepared of all bird species in the 10 km radius of airports.

They suggest that there is a need for awareness creation and public participation in reducing the hazards posed by birds to aircraft.

“Feeding of birds by people close to airports (within a radius of 2 km) should be discouraged and stopped,” the document states.

The scientists also call for discouraging slaughterhouses and dumping of waste very close to airports to avoid carnivorous birds such as kites.

There are also species-wise recommendation for minimising hazards.

The document suggests that to discourage black kites, which are high soarers and pose danger during landing and take-off, airfields must be clear of any animal or bird carcasses.

To discourage lapwing activity, appropriate short grass cover should be developed and maintained preferably at less than 15 cm height inside the airfield.

02/01/21 Shiv Sahay Singh/The Hindu

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