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Thursday, October 15, 2009
 
Contact: Joe McBride
816-243-3160
 

Kansas City International Airport Wildlife Management


The rural surroundings of Kansas City International Airport (KCI) have always been a haven for migrating waterfowl, raptors (hawks and owls), deer and coyotes. KCI is located in a flyway for Canada geese where the birds typically fly at 4,000 feet.

The Kansas City Aviation Department has a wildlife management program that addresses a wide variety of the area’s wildlife

The Federal Aviation Administration requires all US airports that have wildlife presence to provide measures to alleviate or eliminate wildlife hazards to air carrier operations. The Aviation Department and United States Department of Agriculture-Wildlife Services work closely to mitigate local wildlife at KCI.

By employing a comprehensive wildlife management program, the Kansas City Aviation Department and the USDA-WS can lessen the hazards to aircraft and their passengers. A high value of public safety drives this team to work hard and develop creative methods to ensure safety and co-existence with the environment.

Methods:

Habitat management: reduce food, water and shelter

• Removed 60 acres of trees (habitat for deer, hawks, owls), reduced standing water, improved fencing, manage grass height, zero tolerance of Canada geese (harass, remove if necessary), prevent nesting sites as geese return to where they were born)

• Reduction of food sources: remove rodent habitat, grain crops are not grown within 2,000 feet from runways.

• reduced standing water
• improved fencing to keep out deer and coyote
• grass height management
• cattle grazing - reduces habitat and repels deer

Harassment/Frightening Devices: non-lethal pyrotechnics
• “cracker shells” and whistlers shot from guns
• vehicle sirens/horns
•propane cannons.
Note: These devices are only temporary in nature and do not represent a permanent solution.

Removal – when necessary
• zero tolerance of Canada geese (harass, remove if necessary)
• prevent nesting sites as geese return to where they were born)

Investigation:
If dead birds are found on the airport or if there are remains on an airplane, they are reported. The remains or samples are sent to the Smithsonian Institution for identification so staff members know the types of birds they need to manage.
At KCI:

All operations staff are trained annually on wildlife dispersal and management techniques

KCI provides funding for a part-time wildlife biologist at the airport to manage wildlife conflicts

KCI has increased funding for wildlife management by 50% in the last 5 years

KCI manages the habitat on and around the airport to make it unattractive to wildlife
• tree removal
• no grain crops grown within 2000ft of any runway
• cattle grazing program to keep grass short and replace income lost form removing crops
• airfield grass is mowed to reduce wildlife habitat
• several small ponds that were attractive to waterfowl and herons were removed from near the airport and replaced with water tanks for cattle

Hazardous species are excluded, harassed, relocated, or lethally removed from the airfield
• goose nests are removed from around water structures on the airport
• raptors and owls are trapped and relocated away from the airport
• the perimeter fence is maintained to prevent deer and coyotes access to the airfield
• hazardous species that are observed are harassed with pyrotechnics, there is even a boat for the reservoir to disperse waterfowl out of reach from the shore
• a highly successful managed archery hunt has removed deer from airport property the past three years

KCI monitors hazardous wildlife
• bird surveys are conducted several times per month on the airfield
• rodent populations (attractants to raptors, owls and coyotes) are surveyed yearly
• deer populations around the airfield are surveyed monthly
• all wildlife strikes reported to KCI are logged and recorded in the National Wildlife Strike Database
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