Some facilities across the nation have added dogs to their safety arsenals.
Airports are using dogs to shoo birds — a real safety hazard for planes — off airfields.
This is serious business, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Birds can disable wing tips, dent fuselage, obstruct motors and break windshields. The FAA says, between 1990 and 2007:
- more than 82,000 aircraft-animal collisions were reported, with 97% involving birds
- eight wildlife strikes caused 11 human deaths after collisions with planes caused pilots to lose control of their aircraft, and
- losses from bird strikes alone totaled $291 million and 362,000 hours in aircraft down time.
How does the dog program work? Herding breeds, such as border collies, are trained to shoo birds from airfields, according to an article in USA Today.
Birds think the dogs are predators, such as wolves or coyotes.
The dogs aren’t cheap to hire. One trained dog and handler from a private service can cost up to $100,000 a year.
These dogs and their trainers are also providing similar services to other companies.
Right here at SafetyNewsAlert headquarters, we’ve had the opportunity to watch a dog and its handler shoo Canada geese from the retention ponds in the corporate park.
It’s quite something to watch: The birds take off as a flock and fly far away after being chased by the dog.
The safety and health ramifications here are less serious than at airports: No one wants to track the birds’ droppings into the workplace.
And the birds are aggressive while they’re nesting in the spring. Pairs tend to return to the same spots year after year, and one couple has been nesting on top of a concrete retention wall in our parking lot. When the geese think their nest is threatened, they do “attack” innocent employees trying to get to their cars, with wings flapping, beaks snapping.
If you’re looking to get rid of nuisance birds using dogs, there’s one thing you should know: You need to bring the dogs back time and time again. If you don’t, the birds will just return.
Do you have nuisance birds at your facility? What problems do they cause? Have you done anything to get rid of them? Let us know in the Comments Box below.