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Wednesday, January 31 • 9:20am - 9:40am
WATERFOWL: Analysis of Canada Goose Movements in Relation to Midway International Airport Operations Using Satellite Telemetry

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AUTHORS. Ryan J. Askren, Illinois Natural History Survey; Brett E. Dorak, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, Heath M. Hagy, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Mike P. Ward, Illinois Natural History Survey, Brian E. Washburn, USDA-Wildlife Services, Michael Eichholz, Southern Illinois University

ABSTRACT. Canada geese are involved in more bird strikes than any other bird species with greater risk of catastrophic damage to aircraft due to their large size.  Increases in Mississippi Flyway Canada goose populations and large volumes of air traffic have made goose-involved bird strikes an ever-present danger.  During the non-breeding season Canada geese from northern breeding areas migrate to warmer climes augmenting abundances of local-breeding geese in the Greater Chicago Metro Area.  Abundances and movements of Canada geese in close proximity to Chicago’s Midway International Airport has spurred particular interest in examining factors contributing to conflicts with air operations there. To assess these risks, we quantified goose movements and modeled factors influencing the intersection of movements with focal areas pertinent to air operations at Midway. These focal areas were developed based on Federal Aviation Administration recommendations for mitigating bird strike risks. The aim of this study was to 1) quantify movements of Canada geese between habitats in the vicinity of Midway International Airport and 2) to identify factors influencing the probability of movements intersecting focal air operation areas.  During the winter of 2015-2016, 41 transmitters were deployed near Midway and recorded 3,009 movements.  Of those movements, 91.3% (n = 2,767) intersected an 8.05 km buffer around the airport, 27.2% (n = 825) intersected a 3.05 km buffer, 15.9% (n = 482) intersected with runway headings within 3.22 km (2 mi) of the airport, and 0.6% (n = 21) intersected with the airport perimeter.  Novel habitats, railyards and rooftops, contributed to greater than 60% of intersections with several focal areas.  Quantification of Canada goose movements using satellite telemetry will aid managers in effectively mitigating the risk of bird strikes by identifying timing, climatic factors, and locations leading to interference with air operations.  

Wednesday January 31, 2018 9:20am - 9:40am CST