WERC Publication Brief: Avian radar systems as a tool for assessing aircraft bird strike risks. July 2012.
THIS BRIEF REFERS TO:
Coates, PS, ML Casazza, BJ Halstead, JP Fleskes, JA Laughlin. 2011. Using avian radar to examine relationships among avian activity, bird strikes, and meteorological factors. Human-Wildlife Interactions 5(2): 249-268.
Radar systems designed to detect avian activity at airfields are useful in understanding factors that influence the risk of bird-and-aircraft collisions (bird strikes).
USGS and USDA researchers used a radar system to measure avian activity at Beale Air Force Base, in California’s Central Valley. They examined relationships among avian activity, bird strikes, and meteorological and time-dependent factors, and published their findings in the journal Human-Wildlife Interactions
Researchers found that avian activity around the airfield was greater at times when bird strikes occurred, versus on average. Researchers then computed an avian activity index (AAI) and compared it against seasonal, temporal and meteorological factors.
Variation in AAI was first explained by seasons, which were based on average migration dates of birds at the study area. In general, avian activity increased with decreased temperature, wind, visibility, precipitation, and increased humidity and cloud cover.
These effects differed by season. For example, during the spring bird migration period, most avian activity occurred before sunrise at twilight hours on clear days with low winds, whereas during fall migration, substantial activity occurred after sunrise, and birds generally were more active at lower temperatures.
The study produced an interactive model that allows safety officers and wildlife managers to predict AAI and the relative risk of bird strike based on time, date and meteorological values. Further investigation and ongoing data collection will refine these inference models and improve our understanding of factors that influence avian activity — which is ultimately necessary to inform management decisions aimed at reducing risk of bird strikes.
Airstrip with radar system. Image courtesy of USDA.
The following files are related to this product:
Some files associated with this product may require the ability to read Portable Document Format (PDF) documents; the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge