Skip to main content

U.S. flag An official website of the United States government

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Wildlife in Airport Environments

New Book Highlights Latest Tools and Techniques for Preventing Wildlife Strikes
(From Wildlife in Airport Environments Preface; Reprinted with permission)

On 15 January 2009, the world learned—in dramatic fashion—that wildlife pose serious hazards to aircraft. US Airways Flight 1549, an Airbus 320 carrying 155 people, made an emergency landing in the Hudson River in New York City after Canada geese flew into both engines at an altitude of ~2,900 feet following takeoff from LaGuardia Airport. Before that day, most people had never considered the extent of hazards posed to aircraft by birds and other wildlife. After all, how can birds, which generally weigh a few kilograms at most, bring down an airliner?

The crash of Flight 1549 brought about widespread awareness of wildlife–aircraft collisions, which has been welcomed by biologists, airport managers, and other personnel who manage wildlife at airports and who are developing solutions to this problem. As with any technical challenge, we must rely on science. Effective management of wildlife in airport environments, like all types of wildlife damage management, is based on principles from wildlife ecology, physiology, and behavior. By considering how these disciplines interact in the airport context, we can better understand how and why animals respond to various mitigation methods (at both the individual and population levels), learn why and under what conditions some management tools and techniques work better than others, and more intelligently direct our future research and management efforts. To that end, National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) research wildlife biologists Drs. Travis DeVault and Brad Blackwell have teamed-up with Mississippi State University professor Jerrold Belant as editors of a new book on the various tools and techniques used to prevent wildlife collisions with aircraft. Wildlife in Airport Environments: Preventing Animal-Aircraft Collisions through Science-Based Management is the first in the series Wildlife Management and Conservation, published by the John Hopkins University Press in association with The Wildlife Society. The book is organized into three main parts: 1) wildlife management techniques (deterrents, exclusion methods, translocation strategies, and populations management), 2) managing resources (food and water), and 3) wildlife monitoring (animal movements, avian radar, and survey methods).

For more information, please contact


Complementary Content