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Dietary intake at the population level

Wildlife–aircraft collisions (wildlife strikes) pose a serious safety risk to aircraft and cost civil aviation >$614 million annually in the United States (Dale 2009, Dolbeer et al. 2009). Over 89,700 wildlife strikes with civil aircraft were reported to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) during 1990 to 2008 (Dolbeer et al. 2009). Aircraft collisions with birds accounted for 97% of the reported strikes (Dolbeer et al. 2009). Gulls (Larus spp.), waterfowl, such as Canada geese (Branta canadensis), raptors (hawks and owls), blackbirds, and European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are the species of most concern at airports (Dolbeer et al. 2000, Dolbeer and Wright 2009). Analyzing information from the FAA’s National Wildlife Strike Database regarding wildlife strikes with civil aircraft , Dolbeer (2006) found that 74% of all wildlife strikes were at altitudes of ≤125 m above ground level (AGL) and suggested that most wildlife strikes occur within the airport environment. Sound management techniques that reduce bird numbers in and around airports are therefore critical for safe airport operations. Large-scale killing of birds to solve confl icts oft en is undesirable or impractical (Dolbeer 1986, Dolbeer et al. 1997). Nonlethal frightening techniques to keep birds away from airports are available (Marsh et al. 1991, Cleary 1994), but they can be cost-prohibitive or only temporarily eff ective (Dolbeer et al. 1995, Washburn et al. 2006, Baxter and Allan 2008). Habitat management within airport environments is the most important long-term component of an integrated approach to reduce the use of airfi elds by birds and mammals that pose hazards to aviation (Transport Canada 1994, Washburn and Seamans 2004, Cleary and Dolbeer 2005, Washburn et al. 2007). Habitat management eff orts, such as alteration of plant communities, are an integral part of wildlife hazard management programs conducted on airports and airfi elds to reduce the risk of wildlife strikes. These habitat management activities are oft en conducted to reduce foraging opportunities for hazardous wildlife within the airport environment. However, for such management actions to be most eff ective, the specifi c foods and resources that are being used by wildlife that pose a hazard to safe aircraft operations must be identifi ed and addressed. Our objectives are to: (1) demonstrate the use of dietary analyses for directing eff ective airfi eld wildlife management and (2) provide case studies of wildlife management within airport environments.