Bird Avoidance Modelling Working Group

Report from the Bird Avoidance Modelling Working Group

In agreement with the working group remote sensing and our working group, we decided to cover both sessions in this Chairman’s report. So this report covers the sessions on recorded bird movements and remote sensing as well as bird avoidance modelling. It is proposed that it should be conducted in one session also in the future, like it has been in the past chaired by Luit and Dr Becker. I think this is still necessary because bird detection by remote sensing is also a vital part of bird avoidance modelling.

Our activities since Warsaw covered two conferences in Amsterdam, joint meetings between BAMBAS and the IBSC working group on bird avoidance modelling. In the first of these conferences we decided to focus the issues in the BAMBAS group on the science and development part and within the IBSC working group on policies and regulations. We held the second conference more like a workshop and it covered all kinds of technical aspects: sensors, data exchange and also the transfer of knowledge.

Within the period between the two conferences, I myself had the chance to work with the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and worked on the bird avoidance model for Alaska. This was a great chance to internationally co-operate and since that we have done quite a bit of co-operation like Jim Harper presented. We developed a strategic plan for a “North American Bird Strike Advisory System and these were really some milestones. There were smaller conferences and newsletters were distributed thanks to Judy’s activities and we had a lot of personal contacts as well.

Now, I would like to read this statement:

“Data and remote sensing data from small mobile radars on birds overflying airfields and analysed in GIS systems provide valuable information on the temporal and spatial activity patterns”,

But, I would also like to make an additional statement agreed between Bruno Bruderer, Judy and myself. We would like to propose:

”Radar studies are still an important tool to inform about spatial and temporal occurrence of bird movements. They provide one of the essential inputs to models on bird migration and appropriate validation. However, care should be taken that the off-the-shelf availability of cheap radars is not leading to a deterioration of radar information due to the use of this equipment without the expert knowledge needed for proper interpretation.

In other words: Care has to be taken and the development of more expensive and more sophisticated radar systems should continue.

Another topic was the EuroBase Bird Strike database. Like Arie showed us, this is a valuable source of information that could also be used in modelling. Statistical data need to be treated carefully to account for bias. A further topic: A network of radar stations is needed to monitor and better forecast bird migration in the Middle East, in Europe and elsewhere.

We also saw that not only bird migration can be a problem. We have had it in several talks., But, especially in the one talk from our colleague from Israel, he showed that besides bird migration, resident raptors can also be a huge danger in lower levels.

The modelling techniques are still advancing and are being tested. Efforts of continuous research and development show first promising results that need to be transformed into operational systems. Simulation models provide a better insight into biological systems and should be further advanced. Multi-disciplinary global efforts need a common language, definitions. Naming conventions should be standardised. Some notes on that have also been covered at the Round Table discussion.

A strategic long-term plan for a “North American Bird Advisory System” has been developed in international co-operation and everybody wishes it to succeed. So this could be a huge task for the future as well.

After we had the presentations, we continued with the Round Table discussion. We first talked on the definitions and naming conventions. We just picked one important issue and that was: ”How to define risk in risk surfaces?”. In that respect, it was the overall consensus that a special session is needed on the issue and a small discussion group should work out a definition on risk. We had quite a bit of discussion on risk and I think everyone knows about the problems when it comes to: Working out what ”Risk” actually means.

Besides these, naming conventions like I’ve shown in my paper need to be discussed and I would be glad to get a lot of reactions on what I proposed as an initial approach. I would like to continue collecting this information and circulate it among the members. We talked about data and our question was “What are the most important gaps in our data and our knowledge that need to be filled for modelling?” Which of these gaps can be realistically filled?

Validation and calibration of models and systems were also a topic. We decided that, because the members group is working so intensely on this issue, they would provide a list. Judy promised to circulate a list among the members.

We talked about communication with users, for instance about user-interfaces – what is needed and wanted and different users require different levels of information – which doesn’t change the model structure itself, only the user-interface. There needs to be quite a bit more discussion on user-interfaces, so that the user really gets what he needs.

The question was raised whether BAMBAS should be on the Internet as an open source and it is common sense that the Internet should be standard but other sources or possibilities of exchanging information and pushing information into certain flight safety systems should be developed as well so there is no limitation.

The final point was how do we improve our communication within the network? And we said we would like to exchange information on science literature, technical reports, media publications, new developments, information workshops or conferences, software, pictures, etc. One good source to get information is the website and it will probably be linked to the BAMBAS website where Judy has already put information on from our last conference with a lot of information on the current state-of-the-art bird avoidance models and on different sensors. We decided to exchange this information by e-mail, newsletters, workshops and reports.

Our overall goal is to build a network for the exchange of knowledge, data and system components towards global standards and partnership.