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Wednesday, February 8 • 8:00am - 8:20am
Technical Session. Trap and Translocation of Red-tailed Hawks at O'Hare International Airport: Why May Some Birds Return?

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AUTHORS: Craig K. Pullins, Travis Guerrant, Scott Beckerman - USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Services; Brian E. Washburn Ph.D, USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Research Center

ABSTRACT: Nationally, wildlife strikes have increased over the past 25 years costing the civil aviation industry an estimated $708 million dollars annually. USDA/APHIS/Wildlife Services provides technical and direct assistance to over 800 airports and airbases around the United States, including Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD). At ORD, raptors are a commonly struck bird guild and accounted for at least 25% of damaging strikes during 2010–2013. An Integrated Wildlife Damage Management program is implemented at ORD to reduce the presence of wildlife on the airfield, consequently lowering risks of wildlife strikes. Trapping and translocation is a common practice used to reduce hazards posed by raptors using airports and there is no scientifically published information available regarding the efficacy of raptor live-capture and translocation for reducing raptor-aircraft collisions at airports. Therefore, we conducted a study to determine which biological and logistical factors might influence the return of Red-tailed Hawks translocated from ORD during 2010–2013. Our findings suggest age of the bird, season (breeding or non-breeding), and number of times an individual has been translocated influences how likely the individuals were to return following a translocation event, whereas translocation distance had no influence on return. The decision matrix regarding the use of a raptor trap and translocation program involves a variety of biological, logistical, economic, and socio-political variables. This study represents an important first step in providing a scientific foundation for informing such management decisions.

Wednesday February 8, 2017 8:00am - 8:20am CST