Conservation News

New Bird Deterrent Undergoing Tests

By Carol Foss, Senior Advisor for Science and Policy

High-brightness-LED-3x3-array-web

High brightness 3×3 LED array

Lite Enterprises, a small business in Nashua, has contracted with New Hampshire Audubon’s Conservation Department to assist with pilot field tests of newly developed wildlife deterrence devices. These devices use high-brightness light-emitting diodes (LEDs) of various wavelengths to discourage birds from approaching specific areas. Field tests to date have included Common Eiders at a mussel farm in Casco Bay, Maine; Ospreys at an uncovered trout rearing pond at the Milford Fish Hatchery, and Red-tailed Hawks at a raptor banding station in Cape May, New Jersey. While these tests were necessarily brief (one to four weeks), each of the target species reacted to the lights and generated statistically significant results.

Unlike lasers, LEDs cause no eye damage to humans or other animals, offering opportunities for use in a wide variety of settings. Potential applications include reducing sea duck predation at aquaculture operations, bird strikes at airports, raptor mortality at wind and solar energy facilities, and water bird mortality at toxic tailings ponds and other contaminated sites. Funding for the development and field testing of these devices has been provided by National Science Foundation grants to Lite Enterprises.