North Texas

D/FW Airport Officials Finding Ways To Lessen Bird Strikes

When planes are flying into and out of airports, hitting a bird can be catastrophic and almost a daily challenge.

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport officials are now leading the way in finding new techniques to keep the birds away from planes during takeoff and landing.

This week some of the leading experts in bird strikes are in North Texas for the North American Bird Strike Conference. Many are listening closely to how D/FW Airport staff found a way to lessen bird strikes.

“Pigeons are our most damaging species here at D/FW Airport and in 2014 we had a series of bird strikes involving only pigeons that caused me to dig deeper into why these pigeons were coming to the airport,” Cathy Boyles said.

Boyles added that the pigeons kept coming back no matter what airport officials tried.

"They were very stubborn like going to those places,” she said. "I had to be very tenacious. I had to be more persistent than the birds were.”

The team dissected the pigeons to find out what they were eating and found seeds from local pants that had long since died that season.

“That's why I couldn't see it, but the birds knew it was there,” Boyles said. “The next season, we were out looking for that plant and we found it.”

The group was able to lessen the plant population and it seemed to help.

“January 1 until July 31, 2016, we had 46 morning dove strikes and nine pigeon strikes," Boyles said. "For that same time period in 2017, we had 29 morning dove strikes and one pigeon strike."

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