Predicting migratory bird usage of bridges using structures inventory data.

Focus Area

Environmental Considerations in Planning






Under $99k


Under 1 year

Research Idea Scope

Create a predictive model tool that uses bridge inventory data to rate the likelihood of migratory bird use on structures. A simple tool could be created using a few common metrics found in structure inventory data, such as: -Location (urban vs. rural) -Feature crossed (road vs. watercourse) -Structure type (concrete pre-fab, jack arch, etc.) A predictive modeling tool could be helpful to the DOTs that lack field staff to check each bridge during scoping or preliminary design phases. Depending on ranking determination from the model, migratory bird protection notes and items could automatically get triggered for inclusion on any project involving said structures.

Urgency and Payoff

The Migratory Bird Treat Act (MBTA) was passed by Congress in 1918. The MBTA provides protection for migratory birds by making it illegal to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, possess, sell, purchase, barter, import, export, or transport any migratory bird, or any part of their nests, or eggs. Several species of migratory birds use transportation structures, such as bridges and culverts as nest sites. Nesting season is typically mid-May through mid-July, which is also prime construction season due to general optimal weather conditions. Encountering nesting migratory birds during an active construction project has potential to cause unanticipated work delays. Work delays often drive up project costs. The creation of a simple tool that can be adopted by transportation agencies for use with their inventory data will help assess the risk of migratory bird presence early on in the project development. This will enable better planning for the inclusion of migratory bird protection notes and items in contracts and is less likely to cause delays during construction.

Suggested By

Sarah Piecuch NYS Department of Transportation 585-272-3457

[email protected]