RoBird® — Airport Bird Control Drone
Airports are attractive sites for birds. The large open areas with food, water, shelter, and grasslands for nesting, are an ideal resting place. Left unmitigated, bird strikes are an inevitable hazard when birds are present. Collisions between aircraft and birds may impact the engines, which sustain the highest percentage of damage among major components. The loss of engine power or navigational capabilities brings high risks. The results of bird strikes is not only billions in damages, but also pose a risk to flights, with potential casualties. The RoBird® is an airport bird control drone which can help prevent such a catastrophe.
AIRPORT BIRD CONTROL
Bird strikes happen regularly, and the problems are increasing due to growth in bird populations, faster and quieter airplanes, and an increase in flights worldwide. The surroundings of airports are another major factor. These are often close to water or agricultural fields abound. Airports need to increase effort in their wildlife management programs with the focus on bird control methods.
To develop a bird control strategy that lasts, you need to fully understand how flocks of birds behave, and the attractiveness of the surrounding areas. It is important to note why they are using the site, whether it be for nesting, foraging, or resting, then put in place a bird control strategy. Many airports have bird control initiatives in place to minimize interaction between birds and aircrafts. There are three general options to minimize strikes, and airports most successful at minimizing bird strikes employ all three methods through various techniques. The three general options are:
- modify the bird habitat, including bird deterrent methods
- control the bird behavior
- modify aircrafts
Modifying habitats is an effective way to encourage birds to seek alternative roosting and feeding grounds. For a successful bird control strategy, food sources are eliminated, such as removal of seed-bearing plants and use of insecticides or pesticides to eliminate insects. Other habitat management includes covering nearby ponds with netting to prevent birds from landing, and removing nesting or shelter sites by cutting brush, trees, and mowing grass.
BIRD CONTROL METHODS
There are many tools to modify bird behavior, especially hazing techniques such as pyrotechnics, long range acoustic devices, and lasers. These methods encourage birds to avoid an area where they perceive there to be a threat. Our team has experience with these secondary tools, as supplements to the RoBird®. This enhances the success of dispersing birds and can control birds when airborne. The strategy used by RoBird® is to create the Pavlov effect by implementing this integrated approach.
ROBIRD®: AIRPORT BIRD CONTROL DRONE
The RoBird® is an airport bird control drone. It is a unique, remotely controlled robotic bird of prey, with the realistic appearance and weight of its living counterpart. This bird drone uses flapping wing flight as a means of lift and propulsion. Based on nature itself, RoBird® offers new and exciting possibilities in bird control. By triggering the instinct of birds, through combination of silhouette and wing movement, chasing off birds becomes fully controllable.
The benefits to owning these systems is that the price is comparable to that of real falconry, without having to use a real falcon. However, RoBird® does not need training, food and shelter, nor rest. It always come back when desired, and will hunt all day if the wildlife management team wishes. Aside from those benefits, the drone really works, reducing overall bird populations over time, and making airspace safer.
That said, we do not discourage the use of real drones. In fact we believe the use of real falconry occasionally can help reinforce the local threat. Thus, there is a greater chance that birds will stay away from the area. This is part of an integrated approach, which we encourage, along with the use of other methods.
Lasers for avian dispersal startle birds by the strong contrast between the ambient light and the laser beam. During low light conditions this technique is very selective. It causes non-selective disturbance at night when the light beam is visible over a large distance. The lasers are safe and effective species-specific alternatives to pyrotechnics, shotguns, and other traditional tools for bird control.
The key word is ‘species-specific’ as not all species of birds respond to this method. Furthermore, if the ambient light is not dark enough, the laser will be less effective. This is why RoBird® is a great supplement to this disturbance. Birds may associate the laser with the threat of the robotic peregrine falcon, which is indistinguishable from the real thing.
AIR CANNONS, PYROTECHNICS, DISTRESS & PREDATOR CALLS
Pyrotechnics have been used for years as an effective tool for the deterrence of birds. They sometimes are included in the RoBird® strategy, as they are typically already an integral part of regular operations. The loud bangs or screams scare birds and will cause them to go airborne. Loud noises will disrupt the environment of the birds where they believe danger is to approach. The same effect is established by air cannons or the recorded predator calls or distress calls of birds. These noises trigger the birds fear for their safety. However, as with the case of air cannons, they can become accustomed to the sound alone if not accompanied by a real threat.
At several airports worldwide, trained dogs track and chase birds away. This naturally conditions birds to fear for their safety and leave the area. The dogs scare birds from their perching places, taking away the ability to feed, rest, or nest. This method, while may be immediately effective, does not have long term effects, much like the other traditional methods. Instead, birds leave temporarily when the threat is present, but often swiftly return when they know its safe.
Additionally, after the birds go airborne, they fly away in no specific direction. Whereas with the RoBird®, birds can be directed in a preferred direction. Imagine as with herding sheep with a dog, the falcon bird drone makes it possible to ‘herd’ birds. The pilot can aggressively and persistently chase and meneuver flocks to safety, especially when neaby active runways. A combination of multiple methods is undoubtedly the most effective strategy for bird control at airports.
RADAR SYSTEMS & MODIFICATION OF FLIGHT PLANS
A modern approach to avoiding wildlife strikes to aircraft is the use of avian radar. Radar equipment tracks the movement and density of bird flocks so operations can predict bird behavior. This allows them to manage control techniques more effectively. When birds are detected there are a few options, such as sending in wildlife specialists to remove birds or modifying plane behavior. Changing flight paths and schedules can help minimize bird strikes. It is commonly accepted that this method is not feasible for airports, especially busy ones, and is usually only done when absolutely necessary. At such times RoBird® proves its worth, as it is capable of flying at a moment’s notice, so as not to seriously affect overall operations.