Monday, April 27, 2009

Border Collies are Environmentally Friendly

When I blogged about FAA plans to close access to their birdstrike database I mentioned that some of the birdstrike material strikes my funnybone. This comprehensive document made me laugh a few times:

I'm imagining the act of bad judgment that had them recommend good judgment in this passage.

Dead birds will sometimes scare away flocks of the same species. Placing fresh carcasses in open areas also offers limited effectiveness; however, scavengers will also be attracted to dead animals. Some wildlife officers report success in dispersing flocks simply by tossing a recently dispatched gull into the air while playing distress calls. Such acts should be carried out only with good judgment, and with consideration for any onlookers who might take offense. Placing taxidermically-mounted gulls—prepared in what are termed agony postures—in open areas has also led to some success, although such models are unable to withstand harsh weather conditions.

Apparently birds are smarter than the average character in a teen horror movie, who goes out in her underwear to investigate in the same circumstances.

Border Collies are environmentally friendly.

Low-emissions, non-carcinogenic, locally produced, runs on biofuel, and can fetch sticks. What else could you ask for?

And this pilot guide to bird avoidance contained this statistic:

60% of mammal strikes occurred when the aircraft was on approach or landing
34% of mammal strikes occurred during takeoff

My initial response was "And six percent of mammal strikes were with bats or skydivers?" but I suppose the remainder could be airplanes hitting animals while taxiing, or even animals running into parked aircraft. Hey, if a bull moose considers a Ford Focus to be a challenge to his moosculinity, why not a Piper Malibu?

There's also the risk of falling cows, like this urban legend and the YouTube clip below.

My ambition is to hit a flying snake in Canada, just because the form only allows for "bird" and "mammal" events, and I'd have to write in "reptile". That and the potential for "Snakes on a Plane" jokes for everyone.


Paul B said...

Maybe the other 6% includes reindeer hits on Xmas eve?

Paul B said...

I wonder what the wildlife supporters would make of the last bit of this section on "predator models":

"Experiments in the use of models show that placing a dead bird—or model—in the talons of the predator model increased the effectiveness of this technique. Effectiveness was further increased when a live starling was tethered to the model."

david said...

I'm worried that the other 6% are Border Collies. I have one at home: they can run at 25-30 kt, and have been bred to chase fast-moving objects and cut in front of them to make them stop.

Callsign Echo said...

I don't know about "low emmissions" if Border Collies are anything like my bulldog.

Rhonda said...

I thought the border collie YVR hired a few years ago was a great idea. I wonder how her job is going...

They're smart dogs, so as long as they're trained not to chase the really big birds they should be fine...

Jeremy said...

In Australia, they really do have snakes on a plane - this was just a couple of weeks ago:

Escaped snakes ground Qantas plane

Aluwings said...

And this: Midair Fish Strike

Anonymous said...

I liked the advice to check your aircraft for nests. What do they expect you to do if you find one?

Over here there are species that mustn't be disturbed while nesting, so I suppose if you find swallows nesting in the armpit (wingpit?) of your plane you must leave it immobile while they raise their chicks!

Unknown said...

I can't see those gangs of hooligan seagulls being bothered about a doggie.
"loafing" conjured -up images of Teddy-boys in Drape jackets, drainpipes and "brothel creepers", hanging about ,just for the sake of it....very evocative, loafing seagulls.

RC aircraft are good fun,but now with lightweight Li -Poly batteries (like those in mobile phones) there are some wonderful ornithopters.

A clip on You Tube shows a bird interacting with one-remarkable stuff.

Anonymous said...

@ Paul B:

Starlings are no friends of wildlife supporters.

Aviatrix said...

"What do you do if you find one [a nest]?"You pull the cowling or any removable access panels in the area and remove by hand all the sticks and dirt and feathers that you can reach, use a combination of a shop vac and compressed air to get out everything else. Then you leave the aircraft attended while you go and get an old foam mattress and you come back and cut it into plugs to block up every single possible bird access point into that airplane. Otherwise you get to repeat the stick removal steps the next day. Go on, ask me how I know. You would be amazed how fast a bird smaller than your fist can stuff an airplane full of sticks. And once they decide on a place, they seem reluctant to give it up, even if you destroyed their first effort.

A Squared said...

I don't know how environmentally friendly they are, but pigs can be an effective bird abatement tool.

They were used a few years ago at Lake Hood seaplane base. Lake hood is actually two lakes, connected by a dredges channel. The channel is divided down the middle by a "island" of dredging spoil into two channels, one for taxiing and one for takeoff and landing. The island, known as "Gull Island" was a very attractive nesting place for gulls and waterfowl, which resulted in a lot of bird/floatplane conflict. The solution was to put 3 pigs on the island. The pigs would search out and eat any eggs on the island, and after a couple of summers of this, the birds stopped attempting to nest there.