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Airport Uses Lightsabers to Scare Off Birds

Airport Uses Lightsabers to Scare Off Birds

A Scotland airport is hoping new laser technology will divert birds from plane pathways.

Scotland’s Dundee Airport (DND) is taking up lasers to divert flocks of birds that damage and delay airplanes. Dundee officials have reportedly invested L8000 in an Aerolaser Handheld, made by Dutch company Bird Control Group.

“Lasers have been found to be a very effective way of dispersing birds as they see the beam as a perceived threat and will fly away from it in the opposite direction,” DND Fire Manger Andre Lindsay told Daily Mail. “Conventional methods of scaring birds, such as pyrotechnic bangers, are also effective but cause noise problems; this system is entirely silent.”

Bird Control Groups’ website says the hand-held beam is safe, animal-friendly and without habituation, meaning that birds do not get used to and compensate for the laser, which projects up to 2,500 meters.

“The principle of repelling birds with a laser beam is inspired by nature; birds perceive the approaching laser beam as a physical object” says Bird Control Group. “It appeals to the survival instinct, causing the birds to fly away.”

But bird-diversion by laser is not without controversy among ornithologists.

“For reasons still unknown to science, artificial light attracts birds, from fledgling seabirds to migrating songbirds (it does the same to moths),” the Audubon Society writes on its website. “Once captivated, disoriented birds may crash into windows, or spend hours circling.”

[Photo: Dundee Airport]


View Comments (3)


  1. Centurion

    October 9, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    Wow the same laser that is claimed to be deadly to pilots eyes. How are they going to prevent that from happening?

  2. Ops5

    October 10, 2015 at 11:48 am

    By having trained professionals use them. This is not new, lasers have been safely used by some airports for years – with mixed success in harassing wildlife.

  3. weero


    October 11, 2015 at 9:14 am

    “website says the hand-held beam is safe, animal-friendly and without habituation”

    Still pilots always makes a HUGE fuss when someone diverts them with a powerful laser pointer. I guess that laser source is nowhere near as harmless as the vendor tries to claim.

    And what is that rationalisation with “approaching laser beam”. The wave front travels with 1 million times the speed sound, one hardly sees it approaching.

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