Fall 2017, Issue 6


Fall 2017, Issue 6

Inside this issue:

We’ve revamped our newsletter to give you easy access to the stories, resources and people of Bird Strike Canada.

We hope in future issues to incorporate tools and resources to help everyone do their jobs just a little bit better and more well informed.

All contributions are welcomed so that our content may reflect our members and their interests.


On November 2nd, MP Elizabeth May presented a briefing note prepared by Bird Strike Association of Canada to Hon. Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport. We have been working on this brief for a couple of years and were trying to determine how we could best get this in the hands of the minister and have it gain some traction rather than simply getting a polite response in return.
We owe a debt of gratitude to Elizabeth May. She recently informed me that Transport Canada was having hearings on regulatory change and offered to present our brief if we could get it to her quickly. Tim Nohara and I thought the best approach was to prepare a synopsis of what we thought were the major issues and present them as positively as possible. We received an almost instant reply from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister requesting more details regarding the kind of regulatory changes and wildlife management efforts that are needed. We made some last minute revisions to our White Paper and submitted it figuring that we should strike while the iron is hot. I will keep you posted on any progress and we will outline the key aspects of our paper in a future newsletter. – Gary Searing

BSAC Steering Committee

This past summer, we welcomed 3 new Steering Committee members!

Robin Hollett, currently Manager, Airside Operations with the Ottawa Airport Authority. Robin has extensive experience with airport wildlife control and three years’ experience in Falconry. He started his career as a Wildlife Control Officer at Toronto Pearson in 1995 and ended his time at Pearson in February 2016 holding the position Manager, Runways and Taxiways for GTAA. Robin sits on the SC as an Airport Representative – At-Large.

Micheal Leonard, currently Airport Operations Supervisor at  Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (BBTCA). Michael has been a part of the airport community for over 28 years. He started his career with Ports Toronto who owns and operates BBTCA in 1989. He was hired as an Airfield Maintenance Member, progressed into the role of an Aircraft Rescue Firefighter and then onto the positon of Airport Operations Supervisor. His current role includes overseeing the BBTCA Airport Wildlife Management Plan which he has since 2009 in a very challenging environment. When away from the Airfield, one of his pleasures is taking in the game of hockey. Micheal  sits on the SC as an Airport Representative – At-Large.

Tanya Drapeau, biologist and project manager in the field of airport wildlife management, Tanya currently leads the Avisure Services team at Vancouver International Airport. Tanya has years of experience from both Civil and Military airports in Canada, as well as from wildlife management contracts performed on landfills and other industrial sites. Tanya sits on the SC as an industry representative.

See the full list of Steering Committee Members

Meet Transport Canada’s Wildlife Management Specialist

The Steering Committee also welcomes Devon Harris to its ranks!

Since February 2017, Devon Harris is the Aerodrome Standards Inspector for Wildlife Management at Transport Canada.

Devon graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Environmental Science from Carleton University. She is responsible for Transport Canada’s Wildlife Management regulations, standards and guidance material related to wildlife, as well as maintaining the Bird Strike Database, producing the annual report and providing training to inspectors.

She looks forward to working closely with airport operators, regional offices, and airlines to help reduce the risk of birds and wildlife to aviation safety.

Bruce Mackinnon Memorial Award 2017

Every 2 years, the BSAC awards the Bruce Mackinnon Memorial Award for significant contributions to aircraft-wildlife hazard mitigation and management in Canada. This year the award honoured Mac Kuhring, discover his work and those of past recipients.

ICAO/ACI Wildlife Strike Hazard Reduction Symposium

This past May, stakeholders from across the globe gathered in Montreal at ICAO headquarters for the first Wildlife Strike Hazard Reduction Symposium hosted by ICAO and ACI. Several members of the BSAC were present, with some members, including David Bradbeer, Tanya Drapeau, Pierre Molina, and Gary Searing presenting on various topics during the Symposium.Here is Gary’s take on the event:

“After years of essentially being absent from the global wildlife hazard to aircraft field, and after BSAC (Bird Strike Association of Canada) and BSCC-USA (Bird Strike Committee Canada-USA) requested ICAO to partner with us in a global conference in Montreal in 2015 (which ICAO declined at the time), ICAO and their consulting partner ACI (Airports Council International) held a Wildlife Strike Hazard Reduction Symposium from 16-18 May 2017 in Montreal. Although many of the usual suspects were present, the conference was particularly attractive to regulators who are answerable to ICAO and, therefore, motivated to attend an ICAO conference.

After a keynote address by Jeff Skiles, First Officer on the ill-fated US Airways Flight 1549 “Miracle on the Hudson”, the first day was largely spent in talks on the regulatory framework (e.g., strike reporting, regulatory challenges, performance). Day 2 was “Best Practices” (including habitat and species management issues) and Day 3 was a mixed bag of topics ranging from emerging technologies, land use off airports, pilots and manufacturers’ issues to risk assessment. I think most attendees thought the conference was informative. I, personally felt it was like Bird Strike 101, but then I am a curmudgeon when it comes to meetings/conferences that demand my time. Certainly, our North American conferences and the former International Bird Strike Committee (IBSC) conferences were far more advanced and informative than this one. Nevertheless, for an introductory conference, it was well attended and well executed.

Even though there were plenty of speakers and moderators from BSAC and BSC-USA, both of our organizations were left out of the planning process, something ICAO promised would not happen. I felt BSAC was especially slighted by not being offered a slot on Day 3 in the session titled “Bird Strike/Wildlife Strike Committees”. As the Bird Strike Committee in the host country, the least ICAO could have done was to give us a slot in that session. And to frost that ill-tasting cake, they allowed the World Birdstrike Association (WBA) a slot. Now I know I have a long-running beef with the WBA from the coup they exercised to wrest control from the IBSC, to the manner in which they run their organization, to the ultimate purpose of the WBA, but it is not even a bird strike committee as per the ICAO recommendations, so please ICAO, why did you give them standing?

As typical of most conferences, they represent a vehicle for congregating with our colleagues and provide an opportunity for networking and conversation. BSAC took advantage of that opportunity by having a dinner meeting with those of the Steering Committee that could be there and we worked extensively behind the scenes with Bird Strike Committee-USA and the UK Bird Strike Committee to continue to build partnerships and understanding of global issues facing us. And of course, any time spent in Montreal is always capped off with enjoyable evenings in the city especially with their 375th anniversary celebrations.”

Dallas, TX. From Local partnerships to global safety!

It was a hot one in Dallas for the 16th joint North American Bird Strike Conference in August, co-hosted by the Bird Strike Committee USA and the Bird Strike Association of Canada.

Our Steering Committee headed south early to join forces for a day of discussions and working groups on the 21st of August. Thanks to those who joined in to help that day! One immediate outcome was the establishment of a Facebook group and page, and now a LinkedIn page, to better reach out to members and the aviation community at large. We also had groups working on position statements for the Minister of Transport (see prior article), bird strike definitions, outreach poster ideas and more.

Exhibitors at the tradeshow included several BSAC corporate members and we were very pleased to showcase the BSAC’s brand new booth which looks great.

At the conference, Pierre Molina provided an update to participants on BSAC, and Devon Harris outlined Transport Canada’s regulatory requirements. While various members acted as moderators during sessions, member-presenters included Tim Nohara,”Filling a Critical SMS Information Gap for Bird Strike Risk Management off Airport and at Night”, Phil Shaw, “Human Fatalities and Destroyed Aircraft Due to Wildlife Strikes, 1912 to Present”, and Tanya Drapeau, “Tools for Success- A Review of Active Wildlife Management Tools Used at Vancouver International Airport”.

Gary Searing and Pierre Molina, pictured here with Bird Strike Committee USA’s Sarah Bramwell.

Gary helped wrap up the conference with a tribute to Mac Kuhring, this year’s recipient of the Bruce Mackinnon Memorial Award. Between talks, the tradeshow and networking, those attending enjoyed some southern hospitality and BBQ! A big thank you to Dallas-Fort-Worth Airport for hosting as well as the AAAE for their part in managing this event, it was a great success!
The next joint meeting is slated for 2019 in Halifax, while the next BSAC workshop will happen in the Montreal area in fall of 2018. Stay tuned for details on our events page!
-Tanya Drapeau

Airport Activities

A World First at EIA

In the spring of 2017, EIA entered into an agreement with Aerium Analytics and Clear Flight Solutions to trial-run a pilot program testing the efficacy of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for wildlife control (as well as other imaging and surveying projects for the airport) and thus becoming the first airport in the world to use drones as part of integrated daily operations.

Before any flights were done, several Hazard Identification Risk Assessments (HIRAs) were conducted which involved discussions with various stakeholders including Nav Canada, several airlines large and small, helicopter operators, RCMP, and local commercial building tenants on site to ensure safe operations.  The Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC), required for all commercial drone operations in Canada, needed to be updated by Transport Canada to allow for the use of drones in bird control activities.  Likewise, a Migratory Bird Damage or “Damage Permit” was required from the Canadian Wildlife Service for permission to scare birds with “aircraft” in addition to the normal Federal “Kill Permit” required by airports.  Operational restrictions included flying to a maximum of 150 feet, prohibition of flying while there is precipitation, and visibility requirements of 3 statute miles as per the SFOC.  A standing NOTAM was issued for the entire airport property and direct communication with the tower was required when we were flying airside. For the trial, we were only allowed to fly outside of Critical Area B which is approximately 60 metres from the edge of runways, and not in the runway approaches.

The thirteen-week trial program began in late July.  The robotic falcon drone, “Robird”, is a bit larger than a peregrine falcon and weighs 750 grams.  It is operated by a pilot with an observer present at all times to keep a watch on surrounding activities and communicate with the pilot to advise of any hazards.  Several built-in safety features include Geo-fencing (the Robird cannot fly outside of this boundary) and a mandatory ‘fly to home’ or emergency land feature if there is ever a loss of communication with the pilot or the number of GPS satellites drops below 7.  With a well-trained pilot, Robird can simulate the appearance and flight of a large falcon and the illusion is enhanced by accelerating and decelerating where appropriate and simulating the hunting behaviour by splitting up a flock and chasing individuals.

To date, we have flown over 150 flights on airport property.  Most operations were done groundside mainly as a reflection of the bird activity. There has been a lot of development in the area both on EIA property and offsite which has the potential to attract birds especially in the soil stripping phase can be quite an attractant for gulls looking for exposed invertebrates as well as geese visiting these sites when water forms standing ponds after rain events.  During the trial, we have had the opportunity to test Robird in many settings including on gulls and geese loafing on the ground, pigeons and corvids feeding on the ground and roosting in trees or structures, and waterfowl feeding and loafing on water as well as in flight.  While it is still too early to fully evaluate the effectiveness of this tool, results have largely been positive.  It may be of particular assistance in controlling birds where other standard techniques such as the use of pyro, shell crackers, and other auditory deterrents or lethal control may not be suitable.


See the Robird in action at EIA!

Special thanks to Jul Wojnowski, Wildlife specialist, Engineering, Planning, & Operational Compliance at Edmonton Airports, for this contribution.


An Embraer 175, having departed Salt Lake City, UT (SLC) on September 26, 2017 reported a bird strike on approach to Vancouver International Airport (YVR). Using Flight Aware’s flight track log data and Google Earth it’s assumed that the E175 was somewhere between 4,000’ and 2,400’ above Boundary Bay, BC and moving at speeds somewhere between 212 kts and 194 kts. The aircraft’s ground crew pulled the wing of a Northern Flicker from one of the flap track fairings on the starboard wing which the bird had penetrated. A 130 g flicker at 200 kts exerts a force similar to striking a 1 kg mass at 27 kts. While that would dent your car, it is surprising that it would penetrate the wing of an E175. The lesson we should learn from this is not to take any strike hazard for granted. Relatively small birds can cause significant damage. By the way, we doubt that the woodpecker used its beak to hammer out the hole in the wing!
Thanks to Tyler Rogers, Avisure Services, for this contribution.

Strike Photo: The wing of a Northern Flicker protrudes from the flap track fairing of an Embraer 175. The strike occured somewhere between 2 400′ and 4 000′ AGL.

During the last few months some members received fraudulent emails that contained fake invoices sent in my name (Gary Searing) but by a sender with various different email addresses. It appears that our membership list was hacked and this was the result. Rest assured that we are taking measures to prevent this from reoccurring. In the meantime, please simply disregard these emails. Note that BSAC only sends out invoices for membership dues once per year, typically in December. The legitimate email in the past has been sent from my email personal account (gfs@airportwildlife.ca) and typically contained a personal message highlighting the work done in the previous year and what we hope to achieve in the year ahead. It contained my signature block and the invoice was clearly contained in a pdf on BSAC letterhead. For safety sake, we may send out an email a week or so in advance, letting you know that the annual dues notice (and invoice for your convenience) will be arriving in your virtual mailbox so you will be expecting it and will not be fooled by bogus invoices. Rest assured we take your email security seriously and will continue to work with our internet provider and website developer to stop this hacking and prevent it in the future. Please accept my apology for any inconvenience, annoyance or unhappiness this has caused you. – Gary Searing, Executive Director, BSAC

Become a Member of Bird Strike Canada!

The Bird Strike Association of Canada (BSAC aka Bird Strike Canada) is a leader in airport wildlife strike prevention.  By fostering dialogue within the industry, the BSAC seeks and advances innovative ideas in aviation safety.  Our mandate includes setting standards, addressing industry issues by formulating effective strategies and implementing change through regulatory means. 
Bird Strike Canada is a strong advocate for what concerns members from every sector of Canadian aviation. Validating research and the implementation of industry developments that support methods of mitigating bird strike risk are keynotes of the association.  An important directive of Bird Strike Canada is developing best practices as well as the standardization of airport wildlife strike prevention data and training. Bird Strike Canada has collected literature on bird strike research from around the world and makes this available to all of our members.  Knowledge of effective strategies, policy and technologies assist wildlife managers in achieving the best results possible at their airports.
The BSAC Newsletter is edited by Tanya Drapeau.
Contributions welcome from all members.





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