Skip to main content

An Evaluation of Techniques to Control Problem Bird Species on Landfill Sites

Abstract

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7

References

  • Allan J (2002) The Costs Of Birdstrikes And Birdstrike Prevention. In: Clarke L (ed) Human Conflicts With Wildlife: Economic Considerations. US Department of Agriculture, Fort Collins, USA pp. 147–153

    Google Scholar 

  • Andelt WF, Hopper. SN (1996) Effectiveness of alarm-distress calls for frightening herons from a fish-rearing facility. Progressive-Fish Culturist 58:258–262

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Barr JF, Lurz PWW, Shirley MDF, Rushton SP (2002) Evaluation of Immunocontraception as a Publicly Acceptable Form of Vertebrate Pest Species Control: The Introduced Grey Squirrel in Britain as an Example. Environmental Management 30:342–351

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Baxter A (2000) Use of distress calls to deter birds from landfill sites near airports. International bird strike committee. Amsterdam 17–21:402–408

    Google Scholar 

  • Baxter A, St. James K, Thompson R, Laycock H (2003) Predicting the birdstrike hazard from gulls at landfill sites. International Bird Strike Committee. Warsaw 5–9

  • Baxter AT, Allan JR (2006) Use of Raptors to Reduce Scavenging Bird Numbers at Landfill sites. Wildlife Society Bulletin 34:1162–1168

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Belant JL, Ickes SI (1997) Mylar Flags as Gull Deterrents. 13th Great Plains Wildlife Damage Control Workshop Proceedings. Lied Conference Centre, Nebraska City, Nebraska, April 16–19 1997. Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service. Kansas pp 73–81

  • Blokpoel H (1976) Bird Hazards to Aircraft. Clarke, Irwin & Co. Ltd., Canada

    Google Scholar 

  • Blokpoel H (1977) The use of falcons to disperse nuisance birds at Canadian airports: an update. Proc.World Conf. on Bird Hazards to Aircraft 3:179–187

    Google Scholar 

  • Bomford O’Brien (1990) Sonic deterrents in animal damage control – a review of device tests and effectiveness. Wildlfie Society Bulletin 18:411–422

  • Bosch M, Oro D, Cantos FJ, Zabala M (2000) Short-term effects of culling on the ecology and population dynamics of the yellow-legged gull. Journal Of Applied Ecology 37:369–395

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • BPCA (British Pest Control Association) (2006) BPCA membership doubles over the last ten years. Professional Pest Controller 36:10–11

    Google Scholar 

  • Brown KM, Erwin RM, Richmond ME, Buckley PA, Tancredi TJ, Avrin D (2001) Managing Birds and Controlling Aircraft in the Kennedy Airport-Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Complex: The Need for Hard Data and Soft Options. Environmental Management 28:207–224

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Burger J (2001) Landfills, nocturnal foraging, and risk to aircraft. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Part A.64:273–290

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Burnham KP, Anderson DR (2002) Model selection and Multi-model Inference A Practical Information-theoretic Approach. Springer-Verlag, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Cramp S, Simmons KEL (eds) (1980) The Birds of the Western Palearctic Volume II: Hawks to Bustards. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK

    Google Scholar 

  • Delwiche MJ, Houk AP, Gorenzel WP, Salmon TP (2005) Electronic broadcast call unit for bird control in orchards. Applied Engineering in Agriculture 21:721–727

    Google Scholar 

  • Dolbeer RA, Belant JL, Sillings JL (1993) Shooting gulls reduces strikes with aircraft at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Wildlife Society Bulletin 21:442–450

    Google Scholar 

  • Ellis TM, Bousfield RB, Bissett LA, Dyrting KC, Luk GSM, Tsim ST, Sturm-Ramirez K, Webster RG, Guan Y, Peiris JSM (2004) Investigation of outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza in waterfowl and wild birds in Hong Kong in late 2002. Avian Pathology 33:492–505

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Erickson WA, Marsh RE, Salmon TP (1990) A review of falconry as a bird-hazing technique Proceedings of the Fourteenth Vertebrate Pest Conference 1990. University of Nebraska, Lincoln pp. 314–316

  • Fernández-Juricic E, Blumstein DT, Abrica G, Manriquez L, Bandy Adams L, Adams R, Daneshrad M, Rodriguez-Prieto I (2006) Relationships of anti-predator escape and post-escape responses with body mass and morphology: a comparative avian study. Evolutionary ecology research 8:731–752

    Google Scholar 

  • Ferns PN, Mudge GP (2000) Abundance, diet and Salmonella contamination of gulls feeding at sewage outfalls. Water Research 34:2653–2660

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Finney SK, Harris MP, Keller LF, Elston DA, Monaghan P, Wanless S (2003) Reducing the density of breeding gulls influences the pattern of recruitment of immature Atlantic puffins Fratercula arctica to a breeding colony. Journal of Applied Ecology 40:545–552

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gilsdorf JM, Hygnstrom SE, VerCauteren KC (2002) Use of frightening devices in wildlife damage management. Integrated Pest Management Reviews 7:29–45

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gorenzel WP, Blackwell BF, Simmons GD, Salmon TP, Dolbeer RA (2002) Evaluation of lasers to disperse American crows, Corvus brachyrynchos, from urban night roosts. International Journal Of Pest Management 48:327–331

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gosler AG, Kenward RE, Horton N (1995) The effect of gull roost deterrence on roost occupancy, daily gull movements and wintering wildfowl. Bird Study 42:144-157

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Grinnell J (1932) Current discussion: The “control” of birds as causing popular disregard for the values of birdlife. Condor. 34:54–55

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Guillemette M, Brousseau P (2001) Does culling predatory gulls enhance the productivity of breeding common terns? Journal Of Applied Ecology 38:1–8

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hollmen T, Franson JC, Docherty DE, Kilpi M, Hario M, Creekmore LH, Peterson MR (2000) Infectious bursal disease antibodies in Elder ducks and Herring Gulls. Condor 102:688–691

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ihake R, Gentleman R (1996) R: A language for data analysis and graphics. Journal Of Computational and Graphical Statistics 5:229–314

    Google Scholar 

  • Littauer GA, Glahn JF, Reinhold DS, Brunson MW (1997) Control of Bird Predation at Aquaculture Facilities: Strategies and Cost Estimates. Southern Regional Aquaculture Centre Publication No. 402

  • McAtee WL (1933) The Meaning of bird control. The Wilson Bulletin 45:3–9

    Google Scholar 

  • Monaghan P, Shedden CB, Ensor K, Fricker CR, Girdwood RWA (1985) Salmonella carriage by herring-gulls in the Clyde area of Scotland in relation to their feeding ecology. Journal Of Applied Ecology 22:669–680

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • National Farmers Union (2005) Code of Practice: Bird scarers. Available from http://www.malvern.whub.org.uk/home/mhc-env-birdscarers-cop.pdf (Accessed 01/06/2007)

  • Olijnyk CG, Brown KM (1999) Results of a seven year effort to reduce nesting by Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls. Waterbirds 22:285–289

    Google Scholar 

  • Palmgren H, Aspan A, Broman T, Bengtsson K, Blomquist L, Bergstrom S, Sellin M, Wollin R, Olsen B (2006) Salmonella in Black-headed gulls (Larus ridibundus); prevalence, genotypes and influence on Salmonella epidemiology. Epidemiological Infection 134:635–644

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Pinheiro JC, Bates DM (2000) Mixed-effects models in S and S-PLUS. First edition. Springer Verlag New York, LLC, New York, USA

    Google Scholar 

  • R Development Core Team (2005) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria

    Google Scholar 

  • Ronconi RA, St. Clair CC (2006) Efficacy of a radar-activated on-demand system for deterring waterfowl from oil sands tailings ponds. Journal of Applied Ecology. 43:111–119

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ronconi RA,St. Clair CC, O’Hara PD, Burger AE (2004) Waterbird deterrence at oil spills and other hazardous sites: potential applications of a radar activated on demand deterrence system. Marine Ornithology 32:25–33

    Google Scholar 

  • Stevens GR, Rogue J, Weber R, Clark L (2000) Evaluation of a radar activated, demand-performance bird hazing system. International biodeterioration and biodegradation 45:129–137

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vogt PF (1997) Control of Nuisance Birds by Fogging with ReJeX-iT® TP-40. 13th Great Plains Wildlife Damage Control Workshop Proceedings. pp 63–67. Lied Conference Centre, Nebraska City, Nebraska, April 16–19 1997. Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service. Kansas

  • Wallace JS, Cheasty T, Jones K (1997) Isolation of Vero cytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli O157 from wild birds. Journal Of Applied Microbiology 82:399–404

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • White PCL, Whiting SJ (2000) Public attitudes towards badger culling to control bovine tuberculosis in cattle. Veterinary Record 147:179–184

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

This work was funded by the UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Fieldwork was carried out by the Central Science Laboratory (CSL). Aonghais Cook was supported by a joint CSL/Newcastle University studentship. We also thank three anonymous reviewers for their comments.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Aonghais Cook.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Cook, A., Rushton, S., Allan, J. et al. An Evaluation of Techniques to Control Problem Bird Species on Landfill Sites. Environmental Management 41, 834–843 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-008-9077-7

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-008-9077-7

Keywords

  • Landfill
  • Pest control
  • Gull
  • Larus
  • Habituation
  • Deterrence