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Protecting Planes That Never Fly

The base recently featured Baker (left) and Logsdon (right) in social media to thank them for their work to protect the historic planes. (U.S. Air National Guard photos by Staff Sgt. Drew Schumann)

Wildlife Services Helps to Preserve History at a Michigan Air Museum

By Mike Begier, National Coordinator, USDA-Wildlife Services’ Airport Wildlife Hazards Program

Animals nesting inside the museum displays cause moisture build-up and damage to the preserved aircraft. (USDA photo)Every day, Wildlife Services’ biologists work at military airbases and commercial airports around the country to make sure planes don’t collide with birds and other wildlife during takeoff and landing. But when Biologist Megan Baker, who is stationed at the Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan, visited the base’s air museum on her day off, she noticed a different kind of bird-plane problem. Birds were nesting in and damaging the historic planes displayed on the museum grounds.

“I could see that museum staff were trying to address the problem,” said Baker. “I knew I could help, and that it would also decrease bird presence on the airfield, so I decided to talk to the curator on my next workday.”

After Baker spoke with the curator, the base agreed that Wildlife Services’ habitat management efforts should include areas in and around the museum. The project consists of placing temporary netting and foam in open areas of the museum’s 32 historic planes to prevent nesting.

(left) Wildlife Services Biologist Megan Baker, left, and Captain Jennifer Logsdon, right, survey the historic planes for bird damage. (right) Baker uses temporary netting and foam to keep birds and other animals out of the planes. (U.S. Air National Guard photos by Staff Sgt. Drew Schumann)
“I’m glad the base understood how this work could help further reduce bird strike risks for the airfield,” said Baker. “I’m honored that I can also help to protect the museum’s planes and the history they represent.”

In fiscal year 2020, Wildlife Services provided habitat management services at 138 military and 99 joint-use (civil/military) airfields. Want to learn more? Check out Wildlife Services’ Airport Wildlife Hazards Program page.

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