Wildlife Hazard Management

John FRANKLIN • 14 April 2021
in community Air Operations

As operations begin to return to normal, NAAs, Aerodromes and Airlines need to work together to ensure that we manage our Bird and Wildlife Hazards effectively as a key part of operating safely throughout the crisis and also to reduce the financial and operational impact of bird and wildlife strikes.

This article and the attached guide (Updated on 14 April 2021) sets out the practical steps you can take to play your part in keeping our crews and passengers safe and should be read in coordination with the EASA SIB 2020-07-R2 on the Progressive Restart of Aerodrome Operations after Complete or Partial Closure

This is a collaborative safety article written by Phil Mountain (Starr Consulting Services) and Marta Giordano, DGAC France. It was supporting by other colleagues and experts from AESA Spain, Bologna Airport, British Helicopter Association, Fraport Greece, Easyjet and, Wizzair. 

Additionally the Irish Aviation Authority have issued a guide to Bird and Widlife Strike Management at Aerodromes that is available on the IAA website

Phil Mountain SCS
Phil Mountain - Wildlife Control in Action


What the EASA SIB recommends

The EASA SIB on the restart of aerodrome operations has the following key points to support effective wildlife hazard management: 

  • An increase in the frequency of inspections for wildlife presence should be considered and the status of wildlife activity reporting should be checked. The latest available reports should be reviewed, updated and special focus should be given to areas which are known for wildlife activity.
  • The status of vegetation, habitat and land use management at the aerodrome should be regularly checked.
  • In the case of increased bird activity at and around the aerodrome, a NOTAM should be issued to advise caution.
  • The status of the aerodrome fences should be checked regularly. Fences should be repaired, when necessary.
  • Availability and functioning of repellent systems should be checked.
  • Aircraft, aerodrome equipment and infrastructure, such as passenger boarding bridges, should be checked for possible nesting due to inactivity. Inform aircraft operators when wildlife activities are observed close to parked aircraft.
  • Special focus should be given to new wildlife species, which have not yet adapted to aviation activities;

Effective Wildlife Hazard Management is a vital part of operating safely as we return to normal operations

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, aerodrome operators may have been forced to scale down or suspend operations due to the large reduction or cancellation of flights.

Across Europe there have been many different approaches in response to the pandemic situation when it comes to wildlife management – for all sorts of reasons, many of which may have been out of your control. The situation varies from ‘no change at all’ with the Wildlife Risk Management Plan (WRMP) continuing as before through to a ‘full stop’ of all actions for a period of time. Any reduction or change to your WRMP will result in changes to the actions you need to take to reduce the risk of wildlife strikes that could lead to accidents, financial costs and operational delays.

What we should all be trying to achieve

The goal of all stakeholders is to ensure effective Wildlife Hazard Management (WHM) during the return to normal operations (RNO) as a key part of operating safely throughout the crisis and also to reduce the financial and operational impact of bird and wildlife strikes.

EASA’s Safety Issue analysis has identified the increased presence of wildlife at aerodromes to be one of the most important for National Aviation Authorities (NAAs), aerodromes and airlines to consider. This makes WHM something important for all stakeholders to be thinking about right now. 

The role of NAAs, aerodromes and also airlines in identifying and reducing the risks posed by birds and wildlife – how this document can help you?

If you work in an NAA, at an aerodrome or an airline there are different ways that you can use this document to help ensure that wildlife hazards are identified and managed effectively. 

  • For NAAs: Use this guide to ensure that aerodromes under your oversight are managing wildlife hazards effectively in view of the potential for an increased presence of wildlife during the restart of operations. It will help you to evaluate the potential changes that may have occurred during the lockdown and ensure that risks are effectively managed during the restart. To ensure that WHM assessments are effective, it is important that you gather the appropriate evidence from each aerodrome.
  • For Aerodromes: Use this guide as part of a structured approach to identifying how your WHM risks may have changed during the crisis and to evaluate where your risks are to enable you to put in place the appropriate mitigation measures.  Your efforts at an operational level are vital in the safety of operations!
  • For Airlines: Monitor the bird and wildlife strikes in your route network to help identify where your greatest wildlife hazards might exist. This in turn may help you in your discussions with the respective NAAs and aerodrome operational teams in order to identify the best way to mitigate the risk.    

What you can do to establish if an effective WRMP is in place?

-              Go through the questions in the attached PDF document - a socially distanced on-site visit using competent personnel is the most effective approach.

-              Refer to the relevant part of EASA regulation (EU) No 139/2014 - Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC) and Guidance Material (GM), provided in Appendix 1, and the supplementary information in Appendix 2 when needed.

-              Use the table in Appendix 3 as an easy way to record your findings if it helps.   

Some interesting examples

We highlight some interesting examples of good wildlife hazard management practices here below.  

Drainage DitchBird VehiclesLong grass

Wildlife management staff - unsung heroes of aviation

We know there are some people who think birds and wildlife are natural phenomena that cannot be managed. In the modern world of aviation nothing could be further from the truth.  Wildlife hazard management is a vital science that supports our industry and the people that work in this field (almost literally) are the unsung heroes of our industry.  

If you are involved in bird and wildlife control to send us your stories and tips along with a photo of you in action (if you would like to) and we will feature this here.  Send your inputs to us at safetypromotion@easa.europa.eu.  



Comments (4)

Jurgen Jan Ebert

Thank you everybody for starting the discussion here and in yesterday's video conference. As long as we are talking about Europe, the majority of airports should by now know how a state of the art Wildlife Hazard Management basically looks like. There are EASA regulations to be certified by, there is an ACI handbook, the old IBSC standards and we will soon see a revised version of the ICAO Aerodrome Manual on this subject. No more need for presentations on how to do the basics. The next step now is to define how to measure the effectiveness of a WHM-Plan and to agree on applicable KPIs. Do we stick to the strikes per 10,000 movements, use the strikes per 1,000 units? Do we only compare damaging strikes? Is there any measurement to prove the effectiveness prior to a significant incident and the following audit by the airline? It has to be something that is manageable even for smaller airports with only part time wildlife personnel.

Phil Mountain

Hi Jurgen,
AS part of a proactive airline WHM risk reduction program Birdstrike Management Ltd staff have carried out over 190 WHM Standards Checks across Europe since 2009, evidencing the need to provide additional guidance on good practice. Until good practice is the norm, it remains important to provide such guidance to enable all airports to develop their WHM provision to acceptable levels. Efficacy can be measured by how the WHM Plan has been developed and implemented; evidenced by a robust documentation process describing in detail the efforts of the WHM team during all operational hours.

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