Beginning in late 2001, on contract with Airport EIS consultants SWCA, Bob Armstrong and I spent a full year surveying birds and bird habitat within Airport property. This experience sobered us, in regard to potential for catastrophic collision between large birds and airplanes. Wrapping up our reports several years later, we felt obliged to share our concerns with managers and other biologists.
With encouragement from Steve Zimmerman and Laurie Craig, our 14-page synopsis was initially made available through the Juneau Audubon website. Steve and Laurie spearheaded the formation of a Wildlife Hazard Advisory Group, bringing together locally knowledgeable biologists and bird-savvy pilots to provide input to airport managers. Bob and I served on that advisory group for several years.
Dramatic changes have been made to Juneau Airport since we wrote this report in 2004. In some ways they have reduced the likelihood of bird strike. But many of our observations and concerns have not been addressed, and our report remains relevant. Highly attractive habitats to what we termed “birds of concern”—especially waterfowl, gulls, eagle and heron—still surround the Juneau Airport.