A bird strike is the collision of birds with an aircraft which, particularly during take-off and landing, can be a considerable safety risk.
Cologne/Bonn Airport has a bird strike office. Two members of staff regularly observe bird movements on the Airport grounds and drive out mornings and afternoons on the look-out for swarms of birds. They make field reports which note if flocks of birds are gathering and scare the birds with dummy pistols (deterrent measures).
To prevent flocks of birds settling here, the Airport grounds are made as unattractive as possible, letting the grass grow to 20 – 30 cm. Thus, starlings, crows or buzzards cannot see or stalk their potential prey such as mice, so they avoid the Airport grounds. It is often the young, inexperienced birds that get caught up in the engines; therefore, the Airport buildings are inspected to prevent nest-building.
The bird strike prevention methods are constantly being advanced. Germany has a leading position here, since there is an official organisation that has taken on this challenge. More than forty years ago, the German airports set up the German Bird Strike Committee (DAVVL e.V., www.davvl.de). This is unique in Europe and very important for aviation safety. The DAVVL evaluates all information available on bird strike and takes the appropriate counter-measures. The Committee forecasts bird migration and gives a bird migration alert.