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An evaluation of techniques to control problem bird species on landfill sites

Lookup NU author(s): Aonghais Cook, Professor Stephen Rushton


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Birds feeding on landfill sites cause problems in terms of nuisance to neighbors, flight safety, a threat to public health, and affecting the day to day site operation. A number of control measures exist to deter problem species; however, research into their effectiveness across sites and for multiple species has been limited. We use a modeling approach in order to assess the effectiveness of nine techniques - pyrotechnics, hand-held distress calls, static distress calls, blank ammunition, a combination of blank and lethal use of ammunition, the use of falcons, the use of hawks, wailers and helium-filled bird-scaring kites - at deterring three commonly recorded species - the Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus), the Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) and the Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus) - from six landfill sites across the United Kingdom. The use of distress calls, falconry, and combinations of lethal and nonlethal use of ammunition were the most effective techniques for initially deterring birds from these sites. However, when habituation is considered, there is a clear difference between techniques such as falconry, which have a lethal aspect and may act to reinforce the deterrence, and the use of techniques such as distress calls, which do not. However there are problems related to legislation and public perception when lethal techniques are used. © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cook A, Rushton S, Allan J, Baxter A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environmental Management

Year: 2008

Volume: 41

Issue: 6

Pages: 834-843

ISSN (print): 0364-152X

ISSN (electronic): 1432-1009

Publisher: Springer New York LLC


DOI: 10.1007/s00267-008-9077-7


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