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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Effectiveness of a radar-activated, on demand system for deterring waterfowl at a Muskeg River Mine tailings pond, Alberta, Canada

Published source details

Ronconi R.A. & St.Clair C.C. (2006) Efficacy of a radar-activated on-demand system for deterring waterfowl from oil sands tailing ponds. Journal of Applied Ecology, 43, 111-119


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Use visual and acoustic ‘scarers’ to deter birds from landing on pools polluted by mining or sewage Bird Conservation

A randomised, replicated and controlled trial at a tar sands mine in Alberta, Canada, in 2003 (Ronconi & St Clair 2006), found that a lower proportion of 372 groups of birds landed on three tailing ponds when an on-demand bird deterrent system was used, compared to control periods when the system was not used or to periods when industry standard deterrents were used (1-5% of bird groups landing with on-demand system vs. 5-16% for industry standard and 8-23% for controls). The on-demand system used radar-activated propane cannons, high-intensity strobe lights, moving models of peregrine falcons Falco peregrinus and broadcasts of peregrine calls; the industry standard system used human effigies and cannons that fired at random intervals. A further trial found that birds were significantly more likely to change direction when propane cannons were fired on demand, compared to when a peregrine model was moved and peregrine calls played (11% of 28 bird groups responded when peregrine models were activated vs. 40% of 30 bird groups responding when cannons were used).