Bird Avoidance Model

Bird Avoidance Model

Perhaps the most complete predictive model of bird migration in the US has been constructed, not by wildlife biologists, rather by the Air Force and FAA.

The Bird Avoidance Model is used as a key tool for analysis, predictability, and correlation of bird habitat, migration, and breeding characteristics, combined with key environmental, and man-made geographic data.

Fantastic for them, right! Well their motivation hits a different mark than environmental science.

Since 1985 there have been over 38,000 bird-aircraft strikes recorded by the United States Air Force (USAF) that killed 33 aviators, destroyed 30 aircraft, and caused more than $500 million dollars worth of equipment damage.

Here is a map of the Monterey Bay area in California. Colorings represent expected geotemporal “bird mass”. The small yellow bird on green circle icons represent historic Bird Strike events.
Europe has its own version, BIRDTAM, for US military aircraft flying to/from German air bases.

Reminiscent of Porton Downs, the secretive UK weapons testing facility, lately recognized for having extremely high biodiversity for southern England, since most human beings have avoided the area for nearly a century. Military organization of space in some cases has unexpected, positive ecological results.

Birds are hardly the only worry for aviators. The military produces an incredible amount of data and visualizations. The Temporary Flight Restrictions Viewer is a very useable and powerful java app, from the Defense Internet NOTAM Service (NOTAM is Notice to Airmen). Right now, you’ll see there are several restrictions in place in the Los Angeles region, due to the wildfires. Also, there is no flying below 3,000 feet, within 3 nautical miles of Disneyland. MOAs (Military Operating Areas) and SUAs (Special Usa Airspaces) are clearly visualized, and you can zoom in to very detailed aviation maps.

Frightening and amazing to see how many different information spaces inhabit our one physical geography.

UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, PURSUANT TO 14 CFR SECTION 99.7, SPECIAL SECURITY INSTRUCTIONS, PILOTS CONDUCTING FLIGHT OPERATIONS WITHIN THE TERRITORIAL AIRSPACE OF THE U.S. ARE ADVISED TO AVOID THE AIRSPACE ABOVE OR IN PROXIMITY TO ALL NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS