The Indian air force's ornithology cell has devised an eco-friendly strategy to ward off the "invasion of avian varieties" at its bases.

The initiative comes after activities with the BAE Systems Hawk 132 advanced jet trainer were hampered at Bidar air base in north-west Karnataka by Greater Short-toed larks. An investigation found that the birds had migrated from Gujarat in north-west India due to sparse rain.

Grass near the runway at Bidar was kept longer to prevent birds from crowding there, while trees further away were also allowed to grow taller.

 Hawk 132 - HAL
© Hindustan Aeronautics
Hawk operations had been hampered by migrating birds

Similar steps have also been taken in Jaipur, where parakeets had grouped near the runway after being attracted by fruit-bearing palm trees in adjacent villages. The problem was addressed by pruning the trees without disturbing the eco system.

Sqn Ldr S Srinidhi, deputy director of the ornithology cell, says current projects include tracking bird varieties beyond visual range, night-time activity studies and in-depth risk assessments. The body was set up two years ago.

Source: Flight International