Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Falcon decoys and simulated rifle fire keep birds from oil

06.03.2006


A fake peregrine and a radar-activated cannon work better at keeping birds away from oil sands tailings than the current system, says new research from the University of Alberta.



Oil sands mining is one of several industrial activities that produces waste dangerous to waterfowl. The birds, such as ducks, geese and swans, are attracted to freshwater ponds for foraging, roosting and nesting, and as stopover sites during migration. Spring migration is a particular problem in north-eastern Alberta, when the warm-water waste forms tailing ponds from oil sands mines are the only open water--the natural bodies are still frozen. When waterfowl land in these ponds, they may ingest oil and their plumage may become oiled with waste bitumen, potentially preventing birds from flying or leading to lost insulation and death from hypothermia. Current deterrents being used are not always successful because wildlife either ignore the stimuli or habituate to them.

Dr. Colleen Cassady St. Clair and her former undergraduate student, Rob Ronconi (now a Ph.D student at the University of Victoria), compared the industry standard--randomly firing cannons and stationary human effigies--to a radar-activated system which fires cannons and also activates large peregrine falcon effigies only when birds approach. The radar detects the birds and relays the information to a computer that automatically deploys the deterrents. Ronconi led the fieldwork and observed almost 8000 birds during the experiment, which took place in northern Alberta near Fort McMurray. The research has just been published in the "Journal of Applied Ecology."


They found the radar system more effective at deterring birds from landing and then later learned the cannons were even more effective than the peregrines. Part of the reason, says St. Clair may be that the birds are less likely to habituate to the cannons because they are not fired all the time but only when the birds approach. The radar system is currently being used by Albian Sands, Energy.

"This system could be helpful in deterring birds from industrial ponds and we have suggested some potential applications to oil spills at sea," said St. Clair, who is from the Faculty of Science. "In the oilsands, several hundred birds are probably oiled each year and that number might reach into the thousands in some spring conditions."

The system was also able to detect four times as many birds as visual sightings and could also detect the animals at night--particularly critical for bird deterrence because shorebirds, ducks and geese are nocturnal as well as diurnal migrants. But although the research shows promise for radar-activated on-demand deterrents, bird deterrence is not the long-term solution, says St. Clair. In addition to deterrence, the oil sands industry is committed to the reclamation of mines and tailings ponds post production and is also developing processes that will negate the need for hazardous ponds. "The problem will be reduced in time as the oilsands move to technologies that do not produce tailings ponds but that technology is likely to be at least 10 years away," said St. Clair. "In the meantime, on-demand cannon deterrent systems offer the potential of better avian deterrence at industrial sites."

Phoebe Dey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Why we need erasable MRI scans

New technology could allow an MRI contrast agent to 'blink off,' helping doctors diagnose disease

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

World's smallest optical implantable biodevice

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Molecular evolution: How the building blocks of life may form in space

26.04.2018 | Life Sciences

First Li-Fi-product with technology from Fraunhofer HHI launched in Japan

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>