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Title:Reduction of wildlife on airfields through turfgrass selection
Author(s):Kissane, Claire
Advisor(s):Branham, Bruce E.
Department / Program:Natural Res & Env Sci
Discipline:Natural Res & Env Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Avian Reduction
Abstract:Aircraft collisions with wildlife are a major safety and economic concern for the aviation industry. Birdstrikes in particular are increasing due to rises in both the number of aircraft flights and the populations of several of the most hazardous bird species in North America. Traditional avian management practices at airports, including the use of pyrotechnics, sound, lights, and firearms, can be expensive and require continuous application. Therefore, manipulating the airport habitat in a way that repels birds is vital. A turfgrass species that reduces bird use will minimize the need for these less efficient management tactics. The purpose of this project was to identify a turfgrass species that birds find unattractive that can be used as a part of the management plan at airports to reduce collisions with birds. Five turfgrass species, Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.), endophytic tall fescue (Schedonorus phoenix [Scop.] Holub.), non-endophytic tall fescue, endophytic perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), and zoysia grass (Zoysia japonica Steud.), were established around a pond in Champaign, Illinois near the intersection of First street and Windsor Road. The endophytic grasses contain a fungus that produces alkaloids; compounds that are toxic to many species. Zoysia grass, a warm season turf, is dormant during prime bird migration periods. For these reasons, the endophytic grasses and zoysia grass have great potential in reducing bird visits. I recorded the species and number of birds on the plots between March and October of 2010 and 2011. Data on bird use were recorded every 5 minutes for 0.5-hr or 1-hr increments. I also sampled invertebrates and small mammals from each plot and surveyed Canada geese (Branta canadensis L.) using pellet counts. Results suggest that zoysia grass may be a successful means of reducing bird numbers at airports. Along with endophytic tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass, zoysia had fewer bird observations than non-endophytic tall fescue and perennial ryegrass between July and October, the time period with the greatest number of birdstrike incidents (p <0.05). Additionally, zoysia contained fewer invertebrates than all other turfgrass species (p <0.01). These results offer insight into an alternative airport management technique that with further research may lead to a reduction in birdstrikes.
Issue Date:2013-05-24
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Claire Kissane
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-05-24
Date Deposited:2013-05

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