Hill Air Force Base Safely Captures, Relocates Predatory Birds To Prevent Collisions

May 14, 2021, 7:03 PM | Updated: May 17, 2021, 4:17 pm

OGDEN, Utah — Collisions with birds can cost the Hill Air Force Base hundreds of thousands of dollars, not to mention the potential loss of life. That’s why the base teamed up with the United States Department of Agriculture to clear them out and help relocate some of the protected, predatory birds.

Some noisy fireworks are often enough to clear most birds, but the raptor species that prey on smaller birds, can take a little more work.

That’s why a couple of biologists on base began working to safely capture and relocate them.

Pigeons Stanley and Chase help capture birds near the Hill AFB runway. (Used by permission, 75th Air Base Wing) ) A red-tailed hawk that was lured in by Stanley and Chase.  (Used by permission, 75th Air Base Wing) An F35 waits on the runway at Hill Air Force Base in Utah during a training exercise on Jan. 8, 2020. (Photojournalist Meghan Thackrey/KSL TV)

When it comes to protecting aircraft from larger birds, it’s the pigeons who usually do a lot of the work.

“We have Stanley and Chase,” Tyler Adams, a wildlife biologist, said as he introduced the birds. “Their job is to generate interest for the birds of prey.”

Adams explained the pigeons are kept safe.

“And so when the raptor comes in to investigate, he likes to stand on this perch right here, and it breaks away,” said Adams.

He was talking to predatory birds, or raptors, like owls and hawks that have been picked up in traps on the base.

“Ultimately, my job is to persuade wildlife to choose safer habitat,” he said. “That’s why I come to work every day.”

Birds have been known to cause a lot of damage to some very expensive aircraft at Hill.

A running tally since 1995 showed bird strikes have cost the Air Force, as a whole, more than $700 million, and led to 29 human deaths.

“Yeah, birds can cause some serious damage to aircraft and obviously pilots,” said Adams.

Major Fred Backus, a flight safety officer, said that’s a big reason why they partnered with the USDA to clear birds from the runway in a way that’s safe for everyone.

Most strikes don’t cause damage to the planes, but they can hold up missions and exercises.

“And the experts, they obviously know how to trap, how to relocate — all the fine details of how to keep the wildlife and birds away from the airfields,” Backus said.

Since that partnership started in 2011, Backhus said the number of bird strikes has dropped significantly.

On top of that, Adams has enjoyed time with the birds.

“It really is just to see these incredible animals up close and to know that you can have the chance to potentially save its life,” he said.

Adams and another biologist take the raptors and relocate them, usually 50 miles or more from the base.

Since 2015, they’ve captured and moved nearly 270 birds of prey.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Man accused of exposing himself at Utah store...
Shara Park

Man accused of exposing himself to underage girls at Utah store

The owner of Rad Swim in Highland is warning Utah families after she says a man exposed himself to her associate and several young girls in her store Monday evening.
1 day ago
High school teammates play in Super Bowl...
Ayanna Likens

2 former Stansbury High School teammates to faceoff in the Super Bowl

Two former Stansbury High School football teammates will face each other as rivals in the Super Bowl.
1 day ago
HOV lanes for pregnant women...
Katija Stjepovic

House passes bill allowing pregnant women to drive solo in HOV lanes

Pregnant women may soon be allowed to drive solo in HOV lanes after a bill allowing just that passed in the Utah House of Representatives Friday.
1 day ago
(Matt Rascon/KSL TV)...
Matt Rascon & Eliza Pace

KSL+: Healing in schools after Enoch tragic shooting

In the weeks following the tragic shooting in Enoch that killed five children, the school community continues to feel the impact.
1 day ago
FILE (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for UNITAS)...
Madison Swenson

Two Utah county men, business charged with $11M COVID tax fraud scheme

Two Utah County men, as well as an accounting business in Provo, have been charged with a COVID-related tax fraud scheme totaling more than $11 million.
1 day ago
Elk herd near Parleys Canyon...
Jed Boal

3 elk die after herd wanders onto roads near Parleys Canyon

A large herd of elk continues to keep motorists and state troopers on high alert near the mouth of Parleys Canyon.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Hill Air Force Base Safely Captures, Relocates Predatory Birds To Prevent Collisions