How one airport keeps animals away from airplanes

I’m working on a story about wildlife management at airports and this week did a ride-along with Nick Atwell, the  Aviation Wildlife Hazard manager at Portland International Airport.

His team is responsible for keeping animals – mostly birds, but also coyotes -away from airplanes, and one of the tools they use are home-made traps like the one above that allow birds to be safely captured, and then banded and relocated.

“Sometimes we drive them a few hours away,” Atwell told me, “Sometimes we fly them to Seattle and take them to the Canadian border.”

Here are some snaps of a few other tools the PDX wildlife team uses to keep birds away:

These and other images and stories gathered from airports around the country will be part of my next “At the Airport” column on USA TODAY.

Wildlife spotted at Missoula Int’l Airport

Bear at MSO Airport

Along with a moose and a wide variety of other taxidermy animals, this giant bear is on display at Missoula International Airport (MSO).

This small airport has plenty of other attractions to entertain travelers: in addition to free Wi-Fi and an art gallery, there’s a pre-security exhibit of historic “Then and Now” photos of locations around Missoula and an exhibit of photographs by forester-artist K.D. Swan as well as a short documentary about his life and work and the early years of the national forests.

kd swan moose

KD Swan photo courtesy Forest Service Northern Region – via Flickr