Airport Bird Management Services

Service Briefing
Airport Bird Management Services
Assessment and planning for improved safeguarding
Any planning application that falls within the 13km bird strike
safeguarding zone around civil or military airfields should be
assessed for its potential impact on bird numbers and
movements in the area. The proliferation of airports within the
UK means that almost two thirds of the country’s land area now
falls within a bird strike safeguarding zone.
Many types of development can act as
attractants to birds, including large flatroofed structures, landfill sites, gravel pit
restoration schemes and nature
reserves. It is important to address
safeguarding and bird strike prevention
issues at an early stage of any
development, preferably at the preapplication stage, so that any issues can
be tackled and addressed prior to the
planning application. Such early
intervention can prevent lengthy and
costly court action.
The Food and Environment Research
Agency (Fera) offers a risk assessment
service to review planning applications
and report on the likely effect of any new
developments on bird populations,
numbers and movements. Our vast
experience and extensive ornithological
research enables us to tailor our advice
to each case. We do not apply blanket
rules for all developments within
safeguarding zones. Instead, we take
into account factors such as the distance
of any development from the airport, its
relation to other bird attractants in the
safeguarding zone, and its proximity to
flight paths and landing and takeoff
Our expert advice gives airports the
reassurance that they have credible and
scientifically robust evidence to back up
any public enquiry into a proposed
development, if such a step becomes
Our aim is to ensure that developments
proceed in a manner that does not
compromise air safety.
Service Briefing
Bird management
We offer acceptable solutions to
safeguarding problems posed by
planning applications - providing
mitigation to overcome conflict between
airports and developers. If an
unacceptable level of risk is identified
that cannot be designed out of the
application, Fera may be able to provide
mitigation in the form of Bird
Management Plans. These relate to the
management of priority group species to
accommodate environmental
enhancement schemes whilst ensuring
air safety.
Fera’s track record of more than 35
years of bird management and research
means that our advice is always best
practice. To assist with implementation of
our recommendations, we can provide
standard operating procedures tailored
to the specific needs of the customer.
design a monitoring programme to fit
available budget and resources.
On completion of the standards check
we compile a bespoke report for airport
managers containing clear insight into
current strengths and weaknesses of
management programmes. We will make
practical recommendations for
improvement, and can assist in the
implementation of more robust bird
management procedures where
necessary to ensure the airport meets
best practice guidelines.
Extensive experience of working with
airports across the world has shown that
time for bird monitoring and
management is scarce. Our specialty is
helping airport staff optimise their
monitoring efforts and make the most
efficient and effective use of finite
As an impartial, independent
organisation, air safety always takes the
highest priority in all our advice and
Airport standards
Airport standards checks are a valuable
means of assessing the efficacy and
efficiency of bird management
programmes. Fera specialists assess
bird management programmes in three
key areas: personnel, habitat and
Remains identification
We will spend time with your staff on the
airfield, looking at habitat and waste
management, bird strike analysis, and
the use of active bird management tools.
This thorough review allows us to
understand the specifics of your
situation, and thus tailor advice
To complement our Airport standards
check services, Fera offers bird remains
identification from whole carcasses,
feather samples or DNA. Identifying the
species of bird involved in a bird strike
incident provides a focus for
safeguarding strategies. If incidents are
found to involve high priority species that
pose the greatest risk to aircraft generally large or flocking birds improved bird management strategies
may be necessary. This provides
valuable data to focus bird control
But our assessment of safety does not
stop at the airport perimeter. We believe
there are clear advantages to be gained
from monitoring the entire safeguarding
zone for a number of days to identify the
main bird attractants in the area. We can
Bird remains identification brings added
value to Fera’s standards check
services. It identifies bird strike risk
allowing for refinements in bird control
practice to target priority species thus
maximising efficiency.
Protect your airspace
Bird strikes are viewed by the aviation
industry as the biggest manageable risk
to air safety.
The Bird Management Unit at Fera is
recognised as the world leader in bird
strike safeguarding. We are leading the
way in developing the science to
underpin airport safeguarding advice.
Working with airports around the world,
we have helped to raise safety
standards, make more effective use of
staff resources, and ensure airports are
better able to meet statutory safety
Specific studies
Our services can be tailored to tackle
specific issues faced by individual
airports or airlines. We can deploy a
range of equipment to monitor bird
numbers and movements, including our
advanced bird monitoring radar. Using
this equipment, our ornithologists can
provide detailed reports on bird
movements in the vicinity of an airport
over an extended period of time. We can
then assess the risks to aircraft and
suggest workable solutions to any
potential bird strike problems.
Projects can be undertaken at the
request of airports, or on behalf of
airlines that may ask us to investigate an
airport either in the UK or overseas
where they have experienced a high
incidence of bird strikes.
We also help to minimise the air safety
risks posed by nature reserve
developments. Fera has extensive
experience in focusing biodiversity gains
towards non-hazardous species, whilst
designing out attractants for species of
concern. Our advice covers the broad
scale design of conservation areas to
deter hazardous species.
Our experienced specialists - including
field ornithologists, ecologists and
statisticians - combined with our
advanced equipment, enable us to offer
a comprehensive range of services to
safeguard airports and airlines against
the risks associated with bird strikes. In
fact, Fera has been responsible for
developing many of the bird
management techniques used at airports
around the world today.
The resources available at Fera
represent a unique combination of
expertise, state-of-the-art equipment and
scientific knowledge built up over many
years in the field of bird management.
Our specialists represent Fera on
regional, national and international bird
strike committees.
The assets we can bring to safeguarding
include a mobile radar that offers the
most accurate and reliable method for
large-scale continuous monitoring of
birds, sophisticated GIS mapping skills,
and access to a host of leading scientists
in our laboratories.
These unrivalled resources and
capabilities enable us to offer robust,
impartial, science-based safeguarding
advice to the aviation industry.
Service you can trust
Training courses
Our teams offer training courses in bird
management for bird controllers, airport
inspectors and airport managers.
Courses can be run anywhere in the
world, or at our training facilities in the
UK. The courses cover a range of topics,
including bird control techniques, habitat
management, legislation, species
identification and risk assessment.
Courses can be tailor-made to focus on
local avifauna as well as any unique
operating constraints that may exist.
Sand Hutton, York
YO41 1LZ, UK
Tel +44 (0)1904 462 000
Fax +44 (0)1904 462 111
E-mail [email protected]
Air safety has to be protected through
vigilant risk assessment and
management. Specialists at Fera
recognise fully the sensitivities and
subtleties of operating at the interface
between safety and wildlife. Our track
record of working around the world with
some of the largest airports
demonstrates the strength and depth of
our expertise. All projects are treated with
complete confidentiality, and we make
every effort to ensure the highest levels
of customer satisfaction. Our reputation
as a leader in the field is built on high
quality research and services, delivered
by expert staff who go that little bit
Contact details
For more information about airport
safeguarding services, and how Fera can
help you, please email
[email protected],
call +44 (0)1904 462180, or visit our
website at
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