Yellow airside operations vehicle at Prague Vaclav Havel Airport on grass.

Prague Airport remains proactive in wildlife management

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Effective wildlife management and wildlife conservation programmes are a feature of daily life at many of the world’s airports, and thanks to Scarecrow’s range of bio acoustic and bird dispersal systems it’s easy to gain vital insights into the behaviour patterns of a wide range of species. The risks that various creatures pose to airport operations can change from season to season, of course, so the more we understand about movements the more we can all do to minimise those risks.

Prague’s Vaclav Havel Airport has been operating flights since the 1930s, and is currently a hub for Czech Airlines and Smartwings, as well as an important base for both Ryanair and Eurowings. We spoke with Jan Kadlec, Airport Operations Manager, to find out more about the airport’s wildlife management, and its continuing use of Scarecrow’s highly effective B.I.R.D Tab system, which they use both as a bird dispersal product and importantly for analysis and reporting.

Jan, thank you for speaking to us. First of all, are there any particular wildlife species that you have to deal with?

Birds are obviously an important part of our daily operations. The main ones for Prague are the starling, rook, grey partridge, feral pigeon, kestrel, common woodpigeon, fieldfare, buzzard, house martin and swallow. We also have issues occasionally with hares. The potential worst-case scenario for us would be the presence of wild boar, but thankfully these are rather rare so the threat remains an unlikely one.

Many species are likely to be a problem at differing times of the year. How do you negate any such issues?

Our B.I.R.D. Tab system has been a great help with this, because it allows us to monitor activity throughout the year, after which we can generate reports geared towards specific time periods and particular species. Recognising behaviour patterns in this way helps us to become increasingly familiar with all wildlife, and in the process we are then able to accurately predict trends ahead of time.

Scarecrow has been working with your airport for more than ten years now. What has this relationship brought you?

Before we started working with Scarecrow, we didn’t have a clearly defined Wildlife Management Plan at all. Now, we use recording software on a daily basis, thereby building up an accurate picture of wildlife movement. This enables us to conform to international regulations and accepted industry standards. In addition, thanks to the knowledge we now have, we’re able to make effective use of bio-acoustic dispersal systems.

Are there any more benefits to this?

Yes. We can also safely implement measures regarding grass management to discourage bird presence, for example, and this has led to better habitat management overall. Our risk assessments are therefore more accurate, and give us greater all-round knowledge when liaising with outside bodies, such as Prague City Hall, the Department of Environment and Agriculture and the municipal offices of our local authorities. Having a clearer picture has helped us enormously.

Is your team sufficiently proficient in B.I.R.D. Tab usage?

Absolutely, yes. We’ve worked hard at making sure all of our team members get the most from this system. The more we’ve used it, the greater our understanding of wildlife movements has become. In all conversations about potential risks, access to reliable and accurate data and providing evidence is so important, and the software we now use has enabled us to know more than ever before.