Dan Hirchert is our FAA-qualified wildlife hazard damage biologist. He will occasionally chime in on the blog, sharing insight he’s gained from 20 years of experience in all aspects of aviation wildlife hazard management.
Spring is in the air, a little sooner than most years. Most of the US has been experiencing temperatures we would normally expect to see in three to four weeks. This has had an impact on those of us who have spring allergies, but we aren’t the only ones affected by the sudden presence of warmer days.
Natural processes also follow a rhythm. However, when conditions are ahead of schedule, wildlife react and take advantage of their good fortune to get a jump on one of their main tasks: producing young.
The Canada geese in the photo are paired up and have found an elevated platform (an unfortunate muskrat’s hut) for a nesting location. They are actively protecting that spot from any late-comers who might have their eye on it. This was all done before the ice melted. The geese won’t begin to put eggs in the soon-to-be-constructed nest until the ice melts, and they have the advantage of becoming an island, helping to keep nest predators at bay.
It is important for property managers who have had wildlife concerns to recognize these early stages of nesting behavior and implement abatement techniques to persuade birds to relocate to a quieter neighborhood quickly.
Soon after the nest is constructed, eggs will be placed in the nest and incubation will occur for approximately 28 days. As soon as there are eggs in the nest, it is federally protected. After hatching, the adults are very protective of the young and will stay with them as they undergo a molting process that results in an adult flightless period. This can last 2-3 weeks and often results in the adults and young residing near the nesting location into the summer months, which can continue to provide problems for airports.
What’s your story – what types of wildlife are making an appearance near your airport?