How to make planes stand out

Birdstrike, the meeting of bird and low-flying plane, has unpleasant consequences for both parties. A new paper in Journal of Applied Ecology makes some timely recommendations as to what responses aircraft trigger in geese. Some of the conclusions could appear somewhat straightforward (e.g. birds respond earlier to aircraft with lights on) but science is nothing without evidence. Environmental policy should always be evidence-driven, otherwise we lay the way open for charlatans and fads.

My favourite part is, very definitely, that geese prefer purple; apparently they respond most strongly to lights with the peak in the UV/violet area of the spectrum. I’ll have to remember that next time I’m in the field.


The corresponding author, Bradley Blackwell, has a webpage containing more details on the work the National Wildlife Research Centre does in managing US fauna.

Which colour do geese prefer?


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