Bird Dispersal More Efficient at Riga’s Airport

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To protect the world of aviation from grievous incidents and birds from getting killed, a new system to control and disperse birds has been installed at the international airport of Riga. The facilities were put in place by Lithuanian company Fima. That is the first computerised bird dispersal system in the Baltics of this level of advancement.

“Every year, birds bring losses to global aviation that count in the millions. Caught in churning aircraft engines, not only do they wreck them but also cause plane crashes that claim human lives. Hence, airports find it very important to have bird dispersal systems that are maximally efficient,” Simonas Šidlauskas, the Project Manager of Fima has said.

In his words, the system Ultima from the British manufacturer that has been installed at the airport in Riga stands out in its technical functionalities. Mounted on a vehicle, the system consists of a loudspeaker, a computer and a central unit that also serves as an amplifier.

As staff drive around the territory of the airport, the computer system both disperses the birds and keeps track of the territories on which birds were dispersed, the species and quantities of the birds as well as whether they took wing for statistics purposes. Such data allow to evaluate the efficiency of bird dispersal and effectively improve the tactics of dispersal.

In the words of Šidlauskas, a significant advantage of the system is that it alters the nature of sound at varying intervals of time. “The thing is that conventional systems emit homogenous sounds, which are usually the calling of a predator – an eagle or a hawk. Having heard the sound, the birds fly away but then return immediately after the scaring stops. On top of that, they eventually start ignoring the monotonous sound,” he says.

The new system emits voices of different birds – pigeons, seagulls, crows, etc. – in distress. According to Šidlauskas, research has shown that when scaring involves stressful voices, every species of birds keeps clear of the scaring site and does not get used to the sound in the long run.

Lithuanian company Fima has installed conventional systems to disperse birds at the military airport of Zokniai and the Tilžė shopping mall in Šiauliai. Shopping centres, hotels, museums and other institutions use such systems to protect the facades of their buildings from getting fouled by birds.