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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Food habits of raptors using airports in north-central Kentucky


As domestic air travel and wildlife populations have increased in recent years, wildlife-aircraft collisions (wildlife strikes) have increased, prompting concerns for human safety and the economic impacts of wildlife strikes. Most of these wildlife strikes occur in the immediate vicinity of airports. Therefore, removal of wildlife attractants from the airfields themselves is an important component of effective wildlife strike hazard management programs. In response to a such a wildlife strike problem, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program initiated a wildlife hazard mitigation program at airports in north-central Kentucky which included direct control of raptors. To identify the food-based attractants that may be attracting raptors to these facilities, we salvaged digestive tracts from carcasses of raptors removed from these airports and identified food items contained within. These data will be used to focus prey-base management activities and help reduce the attractiveness of airfield habitats to foraging raptors in an effort to reduce wildlife strikes and the need for direct control of these birds.

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