The Matrix of Airport Wildlife Risk Management

7 Steps to Airport Wildlife Risk Management

This is part 6 of a 7 part series exploring the use of the ISO31000 risk management framework in airport wildlife risk management; the previous parts have explored consultation, context, risk identification, assessment and evaluation.

By now, you’ve got a list of bird and animal species with appropriate risk scores or categories and a list of requirements for each of these categories and this step can either be a lot of fun or infuriatingly frustrating.

Fun, because it involves solving problems and buying toys, and frustrating, because it there are no easy answers. And I’m sorry to report, that this post is not about silver-bullets. There are none.

Remember that context step earlier? That should have been a hint that this series was not going to provide solutions. Instead, we’ve been discussing the approach you can take to implement your own and have confidence in your decisions. So let’s look at how you will decide what toys to buy, what strategies to implement and what activities to perform.

Focus on the Problem

Ever since the risk identification step, we have focussed on the wildlife and it makes sense to carry that on. Especially, if some of those species are in categories that require you to develop a specific risk treatment plan or to target or consider them in your general strategies.

So, take each such species in turn and look for strategies that address their presence on the airport or in flightpaths.

Look for a variety of measures for each species and then put them all together.

Add Structure

Doing the same thing or the same sort of thing, over and over again, is like walking on a tight-rope. There is no room for error and everything is pretty unstable.

It is much more advisable to attack the problem from a few different directions. You need to create a matrix or a network of strategies to provide depth to your defensive strategy. Even ISO recommends this by promoting “the adoption of a combination of treatment options”.

The structure I like to use is to categorise each risk treatment as either preventative/mitigative and passive/active.

Preventative and mitigative refers to the presence of wildlife on the airport or in potential conflict with aircraft. Each risk treatment is categorised on whether it prevents wildlife from entering these areas (either physically, via some deterrent or removal of attractant) or mitigates the impact of their presence.

Passive and active refers the necessity for regular human involvement to enable the control measure to achieve its aim. Passive measures are set and forget type measures (e.g. fences) and active measures require constant or regular human involvement (e.g. egg removal).

Take each of your identified strategies and put them into a matrix with preventative/mitigative on one scale and passive/active on the other. You are aiming for good coverage in each of the four areas. If there are any gaps, keep looking for solutions.

Go Circular

Before you rush off and start implementing your strategies, you might need to do some more risk management. The introduction of risk treatments might introduce new or alter existing risks and these need to be managed much like the wildlife we are seeking to avoid.

A good example is the use of firearms. They introduce quite a bit of risk and you will need to identify, analysis, evaluate and treat these risks as well. The process will be the same but the tools and techniques will differ.

Once you have closed this loop, you are ready to go - good luck.


Don’t go too far, you are going to need to keep an eye on things and make adjustments as required. Let’s go through this in the next and final post. While we wait, why not post a comment on your treatment strategies.

Resources More information on wildlife hazard management and bird strikes can be found at: