Evaluating Migratory Bird Exclusion Practices on Transportation Structures

Jason Morrell, Arcadis; David Hedeen, Georgia Department of Transportation

Topic Area
Planning for Transportation Ecology

The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of migratory bird exclusion/deterrence practices used on transportation structures and provide recommendations to improve Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) compliance practices and reduce construction/maintenance delays. A review of available literature was conducted, and an online questionnaire was disseminated among transportation and environmental professionals with follow-up interviews to gain a better understanding of current practices and challenges. Literature review and outreach indicated varying approaches and effectiveness of MBTA compliance throughout the country.

Current practices, as well as new technologies from recent studies, were analyzed based on effectiveness, cost, and feasibility of installation and maintenance. Arcadis ecologists and structural engineers, in collaboration with GDOT, developed construction detail sheets depicting recommended exclusion/deterrence practices for common GDOT bridge types and box culverts. Recommendations for revision to GDOT Standard Specifications included in contract documents were also be provided.

Project outreach provided valuable insight into the effectiveness and shortcomings of current practices. Information obtained from existing literature, field observations, and experienced practitioners was analyzed to develop recommendations to improve MBTA compliance on GDOT projects. Research results can inform other transportation agencies faced with similar compliance challenges. A primary research goal was to identify best management practices to reduce construction/maintenance delays while avoiding migratory bird take.

Current literature evaluating the effectiveness of common practices in preventing migratory bird nesting on transportation structures is limited. Further research is recommended, specifically related to use of netting, Teflon sheeting, and sticky paint technologies. Future research should also focus on evaluating safe work buffers to maintain around active nests.

Abstract Keywords
Migratory Bird Protection