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Aviation Bird Contracting

Specialist Aviation Bird Contracting

NBC’s contracting services provide effective bird control and wildlife management at Airfields and development projects within Safeguarding zones by modifying the behaviour of birds and other wildlife to reduce the numbers that come into the operating environment of the aircraft. 

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The techniques NBC provide on airfield involve:

  • Habitat management to reduce the availability of resources such as food, water and ground cover to the birds and mammals (notably rabbits, hares, foxes and deer). Our Airfield Wildlife Control Unit (AWCU) staff will routinely monitor the condition of the aerodrome habitats and advise/support the airfields internal grass cutting service provider on habitat management requirements via our verbal, written and electronic report procedures.
  • Active bird and wildlife deterrence in the form of routine patrols where NBC AWCU staff shall deter and/or remove birds and mammals from sensitive areas using a range of techniques including recorded distress calls, bird scaring blanks and cartridges, live ammunition and innovative techniques described later in this section. There will be occasions when AWCU staff may need to kill some persistent birds and mammals, although this will be to primarily enhance the effectiveness of other techniques rather than to reduce the total numbers in a local population.
  • Assessment of fence line security to identify opportunities for improving the success of excluding larger mammals, e.g. Roe Deer, from gaining access.
  • Bird strike remains can be identified by NBC and with the specialist support where needed of the Bird Strike Management Unit. We attend and investigate all strikes to ensure lessons can be learned and strategy can be modified where required.

Equipment and Resources

NBC can provide the following equipment and consumables to serve our customer requirements:

  • A suitable 4 Wheel Drive diesel vehicle
  • An acoustic bird scaring unit featuring the following standard digitally recorded distress calls: Herring Gull, Common Gull, Black-Headed Gull, Lapwing, Starling, Crow, Feral Pigeon, Magpie and Rook. Additional airfield specific calls may be provided where local conditions require.
  • Hand held laser
  • Weapons (shotgun, air rifle and bird scaring cartridge pistol) and required quantities of ammunition. All weapons strictly stored in gun cabinet, maintained and used in accordance with regulatory requirements.
  • Trained Falcons, hawks and working dogs (see below).
  • GPS and GIS to map and understand trends in behaviour so they are better able to influence the drivers for their presence and introduce effective management techniques.
  • Mobile tablets for electronic reporting.

Innovative Techniques

A key reason to select NBC to manage and implement the bird control and wildlife management services is our capability to provide additional expertise and new technology to support our customer requirements; including:

Trained Birds of Prey

NBC provided the operational services on field studies for the Bird Strike Avoidance Team at the Central Science Laboratory. These studies showed that the trained bird of prey (specifically the Peregrine Hybrid Falcon) removed hazardous birds from an area of land the size of an airfield more quickly than could be achieved by conventional methods, and because of its mobility this effect could be projected onto the approaches and the surrounding land. Experience has also shown that when used intermittently alongside more conventional methods of control, this predatory response can reduce the onset of habituation associated with non-lethal techniques.

NBC do not offer birds of prey as an alternative to conventional controls but as an additional technique for the AWCU’s ‘toolbox’ that can be called upon when a suitable situation requires this type of specialist support e.g.

  • Clearing roosting and nesting birds from within hangars.
  • Where aircraft movements are less frequent, falcons flown between scheduled flights may be a useful additional tool in keeping this airfield clear of loafing birds.
  • Land surrounding an Airfield, particularly where birds congregate to take advantage of environmental changes e.g. gulls, geese  and water fowl loafing on open water, gulls and corvids feeding during seasonal farming activity, starlings establishing new evening roosts where early harassment can quickly move them to alternate sites etc.

NBC Bird of Prey Resources

Our birds are trained purely for the job of bird control. NBC provides in house bird welfare, bird first aid and falconry training at its local Falconry Hub located in Norfolk. The training is delivered through a Lantra qualified Assessor.

At NBC our birds are trained from a young age so they are used to the environments in which they will work. Each species of bird of prey has different characteristics and will be more suitable for specific projects.

Harris Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus)
The Harris’s hawk is very intelligent and highly manoeuvrable, making it ideal to work in indoors and is used in aircraft hangars.

Falcons (Falco)
Falcons strike fear into birds making them very effective. They can cover large distances and deter birds from a large area, making them ideal for airfields between aircraft flights.

Working Dogs

NBC can provide Airfields with access to our local team of highly trained working dogs and handlers.
Dogs shall ideally be regularly run over approved parts of the site and surroundings to discourage birds from feeding and/or starting courtship and nest building.
NBC dogs are particularly useful for dispersal of persistent flocks and also locating wildlife hazards that may hide on the approach of a vehicle such as hares and birds such as curlew.

Hand Held Lasers

NBC provide our AWCU with hand held laser deterrent systems for low light and night time roost disruption and for repelling birds from surrounding areas, and where approved the apron, grassed areas and hangars. The system specification shall comprise:

  • Class 2M Laser Product
  • Long-distance silent optical bird deterrent for airfield use
  • Maximum range 1000 linear meters or 6 square km

NBC can also provide Airfields with access to an automated laser unit at additional cost that is controllable from the Air Traffic Control tower. These are particularly effective for night time bird dispersal when the AWCU may not be in attendance on site.

Bird GelBird Proofing

NBC‘s unrivalled UK capabilities for design and installation of bird proofing solutions can be made available to Airfields where required.
Examples of effective airfield proofing solutions provided by NBC in the UK include:

  • Flame retardant netting for Hangars at RAF Leeming to deter pigeons gaining access to preferential roosts.
  • Proofing lighting columns on airfield aprons at Glasgow International Airport with optical gel to deter starlings from occupying night time roosts.
  • Polypropylene netting open water around Heathrow Airport to deter water fowl and geese.
  • Spiking domestic residential buildings at RAF Lossiemouth to deter gulls from gathering and nesting.

GPS and GIS Mapping

  • NBC’s reporting tools include solutions driven proactive service for our customers using GPS and GIS to map and understand trends in behaviour so they are better able to influence the drivers for their presence and introduce effective management techniques. This can involve management of habitat such as grass and water sources or changing behavioural patterns through the use of NBC deterrents.
  • Example report from GPS data provided by NBC for a UK Airfield: