WHA: Wildlife hazard assessment

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Quonset Point Naval Air Station,

North Kingstown, Rhode Island; 

January - May, 2016

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In 2016 I began a research project at Quonset Point Naval Air Station, and through a series of conversations with employees of the airfield, learned of a “freezer full of gulls” that were being held at the airfield for identification and statistical/ecological research. While this proposition, at least of the freezer full of gulls, seemed ridiculous at first, I found myself fascinated. Who collected these birds? What statistical information/data were they collecting? And why?

 
 
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the Feather Lab at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum

 
 

As I investigated further, I found an entirely confounding body of information, which placed humans and ‘nature’ at odds with one another: severely damaging bird strikes that have the potential to harm humans and equally severe damage to habitat and crude methods for managing wildlife at airfields. In response to my findings I created the Center for Wildlife Mitigation Alternatives, which published a condensed version of a government manual that highlight the discrepancies in wildlife hazard mitigation. 

 
 
 

In response to some of the more aggressive tactics for mitigating wildlife at airports, I developed a guidebook which can be used to communicate with gulls using their own vocalization patterns and body language.  

A Field Guide to Gull Communication