Bird ID

Why do airports need to identify strike remains to species?

Not all bird strikes are created equal. For example, the number of bird strikes increases during the summer months at all airports in Canada. However, the risk level is not necessarily correlated with the number of birds struck because the risk is related to the size and flocking behaviour of the bird. Therefore, a simple count of bird strikes gives no indication of risk.

Airports need to wean themselves from simply counting strike numbers because those numbers are relatively meaningless. Is 20 swallow strikes comparable to 20 duck strikes? Certainly not. A blood smear on an aircraft or a piece of a bird recovered after a strike is not "just another strike". Airports need to know what species are being struck in order to adjust wildlife control measures to address the hazard. We need to measure strike rates by hazardous species not by a simple count of strikes. A strike record without species identification is very minimal information especially if there are few or no species identified in an airport’s strike history.  Not only does accurate bird strike identification indicate the strike hazard, compilation of strikes by species allows airports to accurately determine the strike risks and develop a program to reduce those risks. 

BSC offers unique Bird Identification services for our corporate members. Our bird identification services are divided into 3 groups:

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3
Photos: Basic Bird Identification when you have an intact (or relatively intact) animal. This service is free. Feather Sample (when all you have are a collection of feathers but no intact animal): The Cowan Tetrapod Avian Forensics Morphology Initiative, University of British Columbia Beaty Biodiversity Museum, uses feather-to-feather comparisons and feather down expanded node microscope techniques to identify feathers. BSC corporate members receive a discounted price of $200 per sample. DNA Sample (when you only have a blood smear or some animal tissue): The Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding, University of Guelph will do a genetic analysis of the material to identify the species involved. BSC corporate members receive a discounted price of $150 per sample.

Group 1 - Photos: Basic Bird Identification when you have an intact (or relatively intact) animal

BSC is using its internal expertise to identify or confirm the identification of any strikes that occurred on a Canadian Airport. This service is free. Bird identification labs find that a significant proportion of bird strike identifications are wrong. Send us a couple of photos of each of your strikes and we can confirm your identification and help you improve your bird strike data. As well, we will archive your photos as part of the bird strike database. Here is Bird Strike Canada Photo ID Protocol. 

Send pictures to photo@canadianbirdstrike.ca

Group 2 - Feather Sample (when all you have are a collection of feathers but no intact animal): 

The Cowan Tetrapod Avian Forensics Morphology Initiative, University of British Columbia Beaty Biodiversity Museum offers feather identification services. The normal fee is $300. BSC members receive a discounted price of $200 per sample.

Before sending samples, please send an email outlying how many and what type of feather samples (e.g., whole feather, feather pieces) to Ildiko Szabo, a Society of Forensic Science  (SWFS) certified Avian Forensic Morphologist. All sample labels must include date, location found, flight information if available, and your case number. (Suggested case number: Airport Code – Date (DDMMYY)-airline code, flight number, 24 hour clock time)

Please email: ildiko@zoology.ubc.ca

Ship samples to:

Ildiko Szabo

SWFS Certified Forensic Scientist

Assistant Curator

Cowan Tetrapod Collection UBC Beaty Biodiversity Museum

2212 Main Mall Vancouver, BC  Canada V6T 1Z4

ildiko@zoology.ubc.ca

office: 604-822-4665

 

Group 3 - DNA Sample (when you only have a blood smear or some animal tissue): 

The Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding, University of Guelph will do a genetic analysis of the material to identify the species involced. BSAC corporate members receive a discounted price of $150 per sample. If you send in a batch of 5 samples at once, you only pay for 4!

The Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding (CCDB) is committed to supporting airport safety by using advanced DNA technologies to deliver accurate & affordable species identifications for wildlife collisions involving civilian and military aircraft. Airports must use the CCDB Form and follow the simple collecting and packaging instructions at the bottom of the form to submit samples. 

Don’t forget to read instruction below and fill the CCDB Form.

For more information contact: 

Evgeny Zakharov, Director of Laboratory Operations

Please email: info@ccdb.ca and cc to zakharov@uoguelph.ca

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