Evaluation of Controls to Prevent Nesting Swallows on Highway Structures and Possible Impacts on Nesting and Breeding
Construction and Maintenance Practices
Environmental Process, Natural Resources
Research Idea Scope
- Assess the fate of swallows excluded from nesting colonies including impacts on current-year and subsequent-year nest success and productivity.
- Assess the impact of various types and increasing levels of disturbance on swallow nest success and productivity. When combined with the results from #1 above, biologists should be better able to recommend management strategies that balance the potential impacts of exclusion against the impacts of disturbance (i.e, exclusion may not always be the least damaging alternative).
TERI Administrator Note (June 2007): Related Research
Arkansas DOT: Evaluation of Passive Bird Deterrent Devices to Minimize Nesting on Bridges and Culverts (Underway)
Abstract: The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) only has one approved method, Special Provision, "CONDITIONS FOR REMOVAL OR CONSTRUCTION ON EXISTING BRIDGE AND CULVERT STRUCTURES", for preventing migrating birds, primarily swallows, from nesting on bridges and culverts that need to be removed. This method allows the contractor to install netting before the nesting season and details the appropriate size of netting and installation procedure. The Environmental Division is proposing an alternative method, an ultrasonic bird deterrent, be installed at various test sites to prevent the birds from nesting as an option to netting. The Department’s current Special Provision requires netting to be installed with no more spacing than 1/2 inch. Frequently this installation requires lane closures during installation and maintenance. When installed and maintained correctly, the netting has proven to be very successful in deterring nesting birds. However, due to it’s size and required maintenance it is a labor-intensive installation that requires close monitoring.
Urgency and Payoff
The transportation agency will have various options for handling the nesting problems in different environments, as well as understanding the biological and legal impacts of these decisions for swallow specifies. Costs associated with each option will be determined. Examples of specifications that can be inserted in the plans will be developed. Monetary and time savings will be generated for the transportation agency. Increased safety to transportation employees will be provided.