Last week I blogged about the ACRP's new synthesis report on bird control techniques and on that very day, Airport International News reported on deterrent grass developed in New Zealand. This new grass is still being tested in NZ so its no wonder it didn't make it into the ACRP's report. The grass itself is bred with a fungus component designed to make the birds that eat it sick. Over time, the birds will move on and thus reduce the risk of bird strikes on the airport. My initial concerns regarding non-herbivorous birds were somewhat answered on the product's actual website where it stated that the same effect occurred in insects. I'm assuming the same for mammals (both as food-sources and hazards) - anyone know the answer?
It's an awesome idea and I can't wait to see some data from further trials. However, I think the article overstates the impact of a single risk control measure on the wide ranging problem of wildlife strikes. The problem of land side and off-airport attractants or even woodlands, swamps etc. still remains.
I'd love to hear more about how the product works. For me, it seems that the birds (maybe not individually but at least each population) must first consume the grass before it deters them. Therefore, every bird population must first visit the airport before they decide not to come back. I don't know enough about bird behaviour, society, learning etc. to pass judgement on that.
PS - I wonder if it will work out where I was last week?
* should I trademark that?