Infrasonic Bird Repellent Shows Promise

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A nine-month test using infrasound to repel birds has been successful, Technology International Inc., of Louisiana, has reported. Low-frequency sounds, which are not heard by humans, were generated using a rotary woofer, the company said. The sounds "jam the birds' acoustic navigational system [and] mimic the atmospheric disruptive features of unstable weather conditions that birds instinctively avoid." The sounds don't harm the birds, the company said. The company hopes to use the technology at airports to create bird-free zones, and plans to test a prototype system at an airport soon.

Bird strikes continue to be a major problem for aircraft around the world, causing about a billion dollars in damage each year. The frequencies used in the test are similar to infrasound emitted by thunderstorms, Technology Intl. CEO Abdo Husseiny told New Scientist, which may explain why the birds are averse to the sounds. The system can also be used to create zones that are attractive to birds and establish wildlife sanctuaries in safe areas. Husseiny said the technology could also be used in other settings besides airports, such as urban squares, harbors and wind farms. The equipment should be available commercially in about two years.