Action: Deter or prevent birds from landing on toxic pools
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- We found no evidence for the effects of deterring or preventing birds from landing on toxic pools
'No evidence' for an action means we have not yet found any studies that directly and quantitatively tested this action during our systematic journal and report searches. Therefore we have been unable to assess whether or not the action is effective or has any harmful impacts. Please get in touch if you know of such a study for this action.
Various techniques have been employed to deter birds from landing in hazardous water bodies, especially contaminated mine-tailings ponds. Tailing ponds store water-borne, often toxic, waste material derived from mining activities, power plant evaporation ponds can contain sodium decahydrate (which can crystallize on feathers) and oil spills can also have catastrophic effects on seabirds (see ‘Clean birds following oil spills’).
Numerous ‘conventional’ deterrent techniques are used e.g. scarecrows, and propane-powered gas guns (that produce periodic loud explosions). However, their effectiveness often declines over time as birds habituate to deterrent stimuli (Bomford & O’Brien 1990). Therefore, radar-activated on-demand systems (which activate deterrents located in/around ponds only upon the approach of flying birds) have been developed in an attempt to reduce the problem of habituation (Ronconi et al. 2004).
Repellents are also used to deter birds, although the literature on the effectiveness of these is smaller.
Similar interventions are discussed in the chapter on aquaculture, with the aim of reducing conflict with fish-eating birds.
Bomford, M. & O’Brien, P.H. (1990) Sonic deterrents in animal damage control: a review of device tests and effectiveness. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 18, 411–422.
Ronconi, R.A., C.C. St. Clair, P.D. O’Hara, & A.E. Burger. (2004) Waterbird deterrence at oil spills and other hazardous sites: potential applications of a radar-activated on-demand deterrence system. Marine Ornithology, 32, 25–33.