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Tagging vultures for safety’s sake


Cara J

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Since 2001, MacDill Air Force Base has housed the 6th Air Mobility Wing, which provides air refueling and airlift operations in the southeastern United States and to military operations in Europe and Southwest Asia. It is home to 3,000 airmen, three C-37A’s and a dozen KC-135R’s, a Stratotanker with a maximum transfer fuel load of 200,000 pounds (90,719 kilograms). Safe take-offs are mission-critical and important for public and environmental safety. Vulture trap-release program in December at the airbase. In summer, MacDill also is home to as few as 50 black and turkey vultures. In winter, however, populations number 100 to 300 daily with as many as 1,000 passing through Tampa on busy migration days.  Turkey vultures form the bulk of migrating vultures. They rank among the top five most hazardous avian species for aircraft and their population has doubled since 1990. Although not the most common strike, the birds’ size and flight characteristics mean vultures cause the most costly strikes to USAF aircraft. Half of all vulture strikes cause damage. USDA Wildlife Services (WS) assists MacDill’s Bird/wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard program fulltime, typically using pyrotechnics and effigies to disperse vultures, the airfield’s most prevalent hazard from November through March. Ryan [...]

 

Read more: http://wildlife.org/tagging-vultures-for-safetys-sake/

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