Tag Archives: bird strike

fence collisions and sage grouse

The following is the beginning of a piece by Cat Urbigkit that showed up on Stephen Bodio’s Querencia blog yesterday:

Making headlines across the West of late is a two-page preliminary report issued by a Wyoming Game and Fish Department biologist noting that barbed wire fences pose a collision hazard to Greater Sage Grouse. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to meet its court-ordered February deadline to determine if sage grouse should be granted Endangered Species Act protections, so the report will come into play there. Those who oppose livestock grazing on public lands are also latching onto the report as another reason to rid the western range of its agricultural industry, and its associated fences.

But everyone might be reading more into the report than it merits. WG&F biologist Tom Christiansen noted it all began when two separate falconers provided incidental reports that grouse had been injured or killed on the top wire of certain fences located near important grouse areas. The area is just to the southeast of where we ranch, in the border area of Sublette and Sweetwater counties. This area is believed to have one of the largest concentrations of sage grouse on the planet. It’s falconer Steve Chindgren’s stomping grounds (the falconer who is the subject of Rachel Dickinson’s Falconer on the Edge).

According to Christiansen’s report, “One of these falconers subsequently began marking such fences with aluminum beverage cans in a volunteer effort to reduce these mortalities.” (Click here to read the rest of the post . . .)

If you are not familiar with this blog, I urge you to check it out. Several people post regularly including Cat Urbigkit, Matt Mullenix, and Steve Bodio and the topics range from falconry to coursing dogs to natural history.

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short film of falconry at JFK

Thanks to George Billard for sending me the url of his terrific short film — Birdman of JFK — which shows falconer Ron Rollins of Falcon Environmental Services flying his birds at the airport in an attempt to prevent bird strikes.

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why birds collide with airplanes

In this Boston Globe article Dr. S. Allen Counter — a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, a neurophysiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and director of the Harvard Foundation — writes about research he did with gulls at Logan Airport just outside of Boston . He looked at how birds hear and transmit sound and had some interesting findings. He found that intense jet noise may interfere with a bird’s ability to hear by over stimulating the bird’s inner ear hearing receptors. The brain wave responses also showed diminished hearing capacity in older birds. So when the gulls are startled by the noise of a jet taking off, they can get disoriented and fly into the path of the plane rather than away from it.

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bird strike piece in Birder’s World in April 2009 issue

Coincidentally, Birder’s World is running a piece about the Feather Lab in DC  — the same lab that analyzed the feathers of the birds that brought down USAirways Flight 1549 into the Hudson River. The editor says the piece was written before the recent crash — just a case of good timing.

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This extraordinary photograph was taken in 2004 at Budapest Ferihegy Airport.

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