Foto: Peter Teune
Limosa Search Issues Subscriptions Editor Guidelines NOU Home Nederlands

Limosa article summary      



GASTEREN H VAN, BOTH I, SHAMOUN-BARANES J, LALOË J-O & BOUTEN W (2014) A pilot study on GPS tracking of Common Buzzards Buteo buteo at military airfields to advance bird strike prevention. LIMOSA 87 (2): 107-116.

The presence of birds at and near airfields is a constant problem for flight safety all around the world. To minimize the risk of bird strikes, airfields practice wildlife management policies, including habitat modification and bird scaring techniques. To efficiently manage these populations a thorough understanding of their ecology and local behaviour is needed. Tracking birds with GPS devices can offer valuable insight into a species' biology and ecology, but has not yet been applied in the context of aviation safety. In the present pilot study, 12 Common Buzzards (six at each location) were tagged with UvA bird tracking GPS devices ( to monitor their movements and activities on the military airfields of Leeuwarden and Eindhoven in the Netherlands, from May 2009 to the end of 2010 (Tab. 1). Sufficient data was obtained for only three breeding birds at Leeuwarden and two non-breeding birds at Eindhoven. Home ranges of three breeding birds at Leeuwarden measured 46.6 ± 24.0 ha (Tab. 2), were defended and overlapped only slightly. Home ranges of non-breeding birds at Eindhoven overlapped with nest locations of breeding birds (Fig. 2). Non-breeding birds also occasionally left their local home ranges to make long trips (Fig. 3). The breeding birds spent nearly 100% of their time at the airfield, with one bird crossing the runway more or less frequently, and in 11% of cases within 5 minutes of an aircraft passage. One of the non-breeding birds crossed the runway relatively often, and in 49% of cases in close proximity to moving aircraft. This individual was finally killed in a bird strike. Although sample sizes were small, the data suggest that experienced local breeding birds form less of a bird strike risk than unexperienced non-breeding birds. Thus, to reduce bird strikes it might be better to not remove local breeding birds as they will be replaced by less experienced individuals. This pilot study forms a basis for further research in the context of behavioural ecology, conservation biology, and flight safety

[pdf only for members] [dutch summary]

limosa 87.2 2014
[full content of this issue]