For military training flights bird strikes en route are still a severe problem. To reduce collisions an international project has been launched by the European Space agency (ESA), aiming 1) for a compilation of information on current bird movements by various sensors, 2) to combine them in a single model, and to finally 3) predict bird strike risks for different spatial and temporal scales. A potential sensor to achieve these aims is the already existing European network of weather radars, but measurement accuracy has to be validated first. We compared data from three different weather radar systems with results from a specialized bird radar operating simultaneously within the range of these systems. The analysis clearly showed that weather radars are well suited for monitoring bird migration over time, and also for providing reliable height distributions of targets. Additionally, we compare these findings with the results from the long-range surveillance radar (ROBIN-system), being operational in the Netherlands and Belgium. Our results suggest that almost real-time information on bird movements can be provided by implementing a bird filter to the existing continent-wide network of weather radar systems. Apart from highly improved bird strike warnings, this network would yield invaluable information for scientific research on bird migration and the influence of the weather regime, climate change, and the dispersal of avian diseases.
F Liechti, A Dokter, J Shamoun-Baranes, H van Gasteren, I Holleman. Combining radar systems to get a 3D – picture of the bird migration
2008, 0, IBSC