Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 7/7/2023

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) Olfactory Lure Study

Bird strikes to aircraft on Department of Defense (DoD) airfields continue to be a major concern in terms of both cost of damage to aircraft and loss of life. Through early 2022, Navy data shows 6,871 bird/animal strikes with an associated cost of over 364 million dollars. As long as airfields are maintained as vegetated spaces that provide habitat for a variety of other species (e.g. small mammals, insects), birds will be attracted to these areas. There is no proven way to prevent all bird activity in and around airfields. Moreover, all types of birds pose some level of Bird/animal Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) risk though data indicates that the greatest hazard is from large and medium-bodied species. Therefore, many BASH managers consider small bodied, non- flocking species as the accepted risk and preferred bird species in the airfield environment. Since some level of bird activity is expected, how to manage vegetation habitats to dissuade use by large and medium-bodied species is the primary goal of the installation BASH Program. Mission impacts from bird strike are a daily occurrence and are ongoing.

Soaring Turkey (Cathartes aura) and Black Vultures (Coragyps atratus) are an especially problematic group of hazardous species that are generally out of reach from standard harassment techniques such as pyrotechnics, firearms, lasers, propane cannons, falcons, and others. Life histories and physiological data on these species shows that Turkey Vultures use primarily smell to locate carrion food while Black Vultures use eye sight and at times shadow Turkey Vultures in order to locate carrion food sources. This project will look at using this olfactory-ability of the Turkey Vulture as a tool for flight safety mitigation.

Submissions are due by 5:00pm E.D.T. on July 21, 2023

Funding Type