Optical Illusion Repels Raptors

Optical Illusion Repels Raptors
An optical illusion made up of black and white circles help keeps birds of prey away from the airport—and the planes.

A bird/aircraft collision can be devastating for all involved, and though there are bird deterrents in play near airports, none of them have proven effective against raptors.

To find a way to deter these larger birds as well, a team of French scientists in collaboration with Airbus conducted more than 300 tests with raptors to determine which patterns will cause avoidance behavior. During those trials, the team discovered only one successful pattern: concentric black circles on a white background that causes a ‘looming effect’ and makes the bird think a collision is imminent. In tests, LED screens displaying the pattern were installed in areas popular with raptors, causing the raptors to consistently avoid the location even when food was present the screen had been in place more than five weeks.

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