In the area surrounding Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, a pilot project has been launched to find out whether pigs might be able to help ward off birds on airport grounds and in the immediate vicinity. The 20 pigs will be foraging on a two hectare plot of land between Runway 18R-36L and Runway 18C-36C, where sugar beets were recently harvested. Crop residues can also attract birds.
The pilot project is being conducted in cooperation with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Buitengewone Varkens, and RVR Loonbedrijf. In the coming weeks, bird activity in the area with the pigs will be compared to a reference plot without pigs. The success of the project will be measured using a special bird radar which will map the areas at Schiphol and its surroundings that are frequented most by birds, along with visual observations.
To ensure an optimum degree of aviation safety, Schiphol is already taking structural measures to keep birds as far away from aircraft as possible. Twenty bird controllers are currently keeping track of bird activity at the airport. They work throughout the airfield to keep the birds away at all hours of the night and day, using technology varying from special sounds to laser beams. Other measures are also in place to keep the airfield as unappealing as possible for birds such as special types of grass.