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Fall/Winter 2019, Issue 10

Inside this issue:
  • From the Director's Desk
  • 2019 North American Birdstrike Conference
  • Bruce Mackinnon Memorial Award
  • Get to know your Steering Committee
  • Bird Strikes in the News
  • Questionnaire Results
  • 2020 BSAC Conference
  • Recent Advisory Circular
  • Wildife Strike Poster
  • Wildlife Strike ID and Photos

From the Director's Desk

If you hadn't noticed it, summer is pretty well in the books, but what a wild summer it has been. For me it started several years ago when I travelled to Halifax to check out its potential as a site for our North American Bird Strike conference. And I did this all on someone else's nickel. As the keeper of the Bird Strike Association's finances, I am all to aware of the need to stretch every penny. Then things really started heating up when we began planning the conference in August almost a year before it actually happened. So when this summer was upon us, I thought I could focus solely on the conference.
When the conference was upon us. I was holding my breath to the final days hoping that enough people would attend at least to cover our costs. Because this is the first time our association was liable for most of the expenses of the conference, we needed to at least break even - and we did! Thanks to the many folks from the USA that showed up and, I think, were blown away by Nova Scotia. I thought the conference went exceptionally well and you can read about it in this newsletter. On the very last day of the conference a Ural Airlines A321 had to ditch in a cornfield near Moscow after ingesting gulls. Another miracle that no one was killed. Certainly not the right way to enjoy a corn maze! But it sure accented the need for conferences like ours and for more work on and away from airports to come to grips with the real hazards that present themselves to aircraft when they are near the ground. As if as an added accent to that event, when I got back home and was recovering from hip-replacement surgey, a Swoop B3737 struck a flock of geese on take-off from Abbotsford and, although it made a safe return landing there, scared the goose poop out of the passengers. This is an airport that has not had a goose strike since 2002 and that was to a helicopter at 1100 feet. We have to stop thinking of risk in terms of strikes and come to the realization that it is the abundance and movements of hazardous species at airports that create the risk profile. If you have them and do not strike them, you are "just livin' lucky" as my colleague John Weller from the US FAA says. And livin' lucky is not how anyone wants to do business when peoples lives are at stake.
Gary F. Searing
Executive Director, Bird Strike Association of Canada

The North American

They said it couldn't be done. They said Halifax was too far off the beaten track to attract American delegates. But in the end, we welcomed 275 delegates, mostly from the USA, but also from Canada and around the world to the 2019 North American Bird Strike Conference from 12-15 August.

Starting with the Steering Committee meetings for both Canada and the USA on Monday morning, we moved right into a free-form international session in the afternoon where we invited participants from outside of the USA and Canada to present the situation in their country and to invite discussion about global airport wildlife management issues. Eight countries participated and we barely made it through all of them in the 4 hour session. It was excellent, especially because we didn't have anything planned and didn't know what to expect.
Joyce Carter, CEO, Halifax International Airport                                   Sam Elfassy, Vice President-Safety, Air Canada
Authority - Welcome Address                                                                Keynote Speaker                                                                          
With 35 presentations, a panel discussion and four workshops, there was certaibly something for everyone. We had a full room of vendor booths which were well attended and each vendor had a chance, if they wanted, to give a short presentation on their product or service. And judging by the constant din of conversations throughout the conference, the amount of connections with new and old colleagues was huge.

A year of planning and hard work goes into a successful conference. So I would be remiss if I did not thank all the help that was received. AAAE provided conference logistics. The staff at the Westin Hotel were great and prepared excellent food for the conference. The conference committee participated in monthly meetings and provided a lot of support and ideas. I expecially thatkkeepinmg the conference moving and organized. And of course I would like to thank the vendors who support the conference through our exhorbitant fees 😀 and our sponsors who chip in to help defray the large costs of putting on an event like this.

I am currently working on putting together a proceeding of the conference. For those who missed it, this is a way of at least getting access tothe content of the conference. For those who attended, you will have in your hands the resource to re-visit the talks and glean the important take-away messages of the speakers that touched you. For the speakers and the rest of us "researchers", I hope to capture the valuable work that went into the conference.
Here are a few photos to bring the conference to you.

Andy Baxter, Managing Director, Bird Strike UK                                   Gary Searing, Executive Director, Bird Strike
Management Ltd. International session, speaker,                                 Association of Canada - Conference organizer,
workshop co-leader  & speaker                                                             workshop co-leader, moderator & speaker                                                                                                                                                

Pierre Molina, Falcon Environmental Services                                      Simon Jerome, Accipiter Radar Technologies
Conference committee, moderator, workshop leader                            Canadian exhibitor
& speaker

Jeff Marley, Margo Supplies Ltd. - Canadian exhibitor                          Greg Winfield, Volarius Management Systems
                                                                                                               Canadian exhibitor
Photos by Sean McCann

Bruce Mackinnon Memorial Award 2019

Every 2 years, the BSAC awards the Bruce Mackinnon Memorial Award for significant contributions to aircraft-wildlife hazard mitigation and management in Canada. This year the award honoured Dr. Rolph Davis from LGL Limited. Discover his work and those of past recipients.

BSAC Steering Committee

This summer, we welcomed another Steering Committee member!

Sean Baynton

Sean Baynton

Hello! Im very excited to be joining the steering committee for the Bird Strike Association of Canada. I’ve been attending the Canadian and North American workshops for several years and have found the ongoing dialogue regarding bird strike abatement continually fascinating. My own experience involves four years of wildlife management at Canadian airports, specializing in falconry.  I’m grateful for this opportunity to become more involved in the ongoing efforts to make aviation a safer experience for everyone.  

Get to Know your Steering Committee

Executive Director                           Gary Searing

Newsletter Editor/Communications Vacant
Airport Representative                     Derek Forrest, Halifax Int'l Airport, Atlantic Region
Airport Representative                     Pierre Molina, Falcon Environmental, Quebec Region
Airport Representative                     Hager Ibrahim, Toronto Int'l Airport, Ontario Region
irport Representative                       Jul Wojnowski, Edmonton Int'l Airport,

                                                                       Prairie & Northern Region
Airport Representative                     David Bradbeer, Vancouver Int'l Airport, Pacific Region
DND Representative                        LCol Ken Bridges, DND Flight Safety

Transport Canada Representative   Devon Harris, Transport Canada
NAV Canada Representative           David LaLande, NAV Canada
Pilot Representative                         Vacant
Airline Representative                      Lee Wardingly, Air Canada
Industry Representative                   Rolph Davis, LGL Limited
Industry Representative                   Clark Norton, Tetra Tech Inc
Industry Representative                   Tim Nohara, Accipiter Radar Technologies, Inc.
Representative At-large                    Mike Leonard, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport
Representative At-large                    Kathleen Gurski, DND-4 Wing Cold Lake
Representative At-large                    Sean Baynton, Pacific Northwest Raptors Ltd.

Bird Strikes in the News

Russian authorities to probe airports’ exposure to bird risk

Russian authorities are proposing to assess airports’ vulnerability to bird activity, in the wake of the Ural Airlines Airbus A321 landing accident outside Moscow. The aircraft came down in a field shortly after departing Moscow Zhukovsky on 15 August. Federal air transport regulator Rosaviatsia adds it is proposing to co-operate with law enforcement to “verify the legality” of waste landfills near airports – sites which potentially attract particular bird species such as gulls.

The authority states that it seeks to analyse the results of recent ornithological surveys at airports to check on the presence of facilities that “negatively affect” the bird situation in the vicinity. Rosaviatsia will also examine the frequency of planned and unscheduled inspections of airports for the presence of birds. All the occupants of the A321 survived the accident, which destroyed the jet, after a suspected bird-strike resulted in a loss of thrust in both engines.

Swoop flight hits geese on takeoff forcing emergency landing at Abbotsford airport

A Swoop airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing at Abbotsford International Airport after hitting several geese shortly after takeoff Tuesday morning, 10 September 2019. Flight 312 left for Edmonton at 8:18 a.m. PDT and landed back at the airport 10 minutes later after hitting the birds, according to the airport's general manager. The crew and 176 passengers were safely escorted off the 737 Boeing jet and led back to the terminal. No one was hurt. "Thank you to our captain and crew for ensuring the safety of our travellers," a spokesperson for Swoop wrote in a tweet just before 10:15 a.m. PT. A statement from the airline said staff are working on recommending travel options for people who were onboard the plane. Swoop is a low-cost subsidiary of WestJet.

Your Feedback
Questionnaire Results

  • BSAC should advocate for higher standards for bird strike prevention - 100% agree
  • Airport Wildlife Management Plans should be reviewed and either approved or rejected by Transport Canada following submission to the minister - 76% agree
  • A basic training course taken once every 5 years is adequate training for all wildlife controllers at airports in Canada - 29% agree
  • Regulations that do not stipulate the depth or methods of training (e.g., length of time, hands-on vs classroom vs online) are adequate - 14% Agree
  • Standards should be set for trainers to ensure that they have adequate knowledge and experience to train others - 95% agree
  • Airports should continuously monitor hazards and take immediate action to alleviate wildlife hazards - 100% agree
  • Transport Canada should help cover the costs of improved wildlife management at airports as it does for other aspects of airport security - 81% agree

    First of all, thank you for participating in this survey, we had a great response. I think the results speak for themselves. We need to "up our game" in Canada. Transport Canada opened their regulatory report at the North American Bird Strike Conference in Halifax with the statement that they are proud of their wildlife regulations and do not see a need to change them. Clearly that is not the message that you are sending with your responses. Every one of the responses to the statements above speaks to the need for regulatory change. Transport Canada has said repeatedly that regulatory change is NOT going to happen. Therefore, it will be up to us to voluntarily improve wildlife management standards in Canada to the extent possible given cost considerations. However, with increased concerns about airport operator liability, the onus is on airports to do what is necessary to maintain a safe environment for their customers (airlines and air operators). We know what is needed and just following the imperfect regulations will not preclude your liability. The state-of-the-art with respect to airport wildlife management is way beyond the state of our CARS. The gap puts airports at risk and it is our goal to begin to fill that gap for the benefit of all airports in Canada.

Birds of a feather, flock together: BSAC is getting social!

Stay-up-to-date! Like and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn. These platforms are open to all, not just members, and we hope that they provide an easy way for people to connect and discuss ideas and issues related to airport wildlife hazard management.

On Facebook, we have also added a BSAC group for Bird Strike Identification. Like the Bird Identification service offered on our website, we hope that group members can post a picture and crowdsource an answer in a timely fashion; moderators are also involved to validate identification.

2020 Bird Strike Canada Workshop Conference

Tentative location and dates

Saskatoon International Airport

Steering Committee Meeting 19 October 2020
Workshop/Conference 20-21 October 2020

Save the Dates

Proposed Theme: SMS and your wildlife program
Plus other topics to be determined
Field demonstrations of wildlife management tools and products

More details, accomodation options, fees and registration details will be available in February 2020.

Recent Advisory Circular

Last year, Transport updated an advisory circular from 2013 on wildlife strike reporting ( This circular does not change the regulation, but it attempts to clarify the regulation and add guidance as to how to meet the regulation. For example, the circular finally makes it clear that a strike report must be filed even if no remains are found. This was a largely misundersttod issue and led to considerable differences in reporting between airports and under-reporting in general. We are pleased to see that the circular borrows from the initiative of the BSAC in terms of bird strike species identification ( However, the strike area remains at 200 ft from the paves surface which does not account for unreported strikes along the arrival/departure route of the aircraft beyond 200 ft.

Clearly there needs to be a revision of the regulation to provide more detail on what needs to be reported. Especially species evidence must be required for every strike in which remains are found. Also, the reporting time needs to be drastically shortened to allow follow-up on incomplete strike reporting and reporting errors. Photographs of the animal struck and the evidence of the strike on the aircraft should be mandatory and provided for in the data base. As it is now, BSAC is trying to collect those photos on a voluntary basis to not lose this most important part of the the strike data (
BSAC has just completed these posters both in French and English. If you would like one for your airport, just e-mail your request to Include your name and mailing address as well as which airport you represent and we will be happy to send you a poster.

Wildlife Strike ID Help and Strike Photos

BSAC has a team of experts in bird identification to help you get that strike identified to species. Did you know that in the UK, 50% of the identifications of birds made by airports were incorrect? Misidentification is very common. So why not take advantage of our free service. Send us you photos of your bird strikes, and we will confirm (or correct) your ID. In fact, send us every photo of strikes you have and we will archive them for such a time at Transport Canada adds a photo field into its data base. Photos of strikes and the evidence on the aircraft are best. Please label them according to the protocol on our website ( You can then send your photos to

The Bird Strike Association of Canada (BSAC aka Bird Strike Canada) is a leader in airport wildlife strike prevention.  By fostering dialogue within the industry, the BSAC seeks and advances innovative ideas in aviation safety.  Our mandate includes setting standards, addressing industry issues by formulating effective strategies and implementing change through regulatory means. 

Bird Strike Canada is a strong advocate for what concerns members from every sector of Canadian aviation. Validating research and the implementation of industry developments that support methods of mitigating bird strike risk are keynotes of the association.  An important directive of Bird Strike Canada is developing best practices as well as the standardization of airport wildlife strike prevention data and training. Bird Strike Canada has collected literature on bird strike research from around the world and makes this available
on-line to all of our members.  Knowledge of effective strategies, policy and technologies assist wildlife managers achieve the best results possible at their airports.
Become a Member of Bird Strike Canada!
Copyright © 2019 Canadian Bird Strike Association, All rights reserved.

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