Pig patrol: Swine to ward off birds around Schiphol airport

Image: Schiphol Airport

Brave pigs have been enlisted to keep troublesome birds off the runways at Schiphol airport.

A pilot project has been launched to find out whether pigs might be able to help ward off birds on airport grounds and in the immediate vicinity. The 20 pigs will be foraging on a two hectare plot of land between Runway 18R-36L and Runway 18C-36C, where sugar beets were recently harvested. Crop residues can also attract birds.

The plan is that the pigs will scoff the remains of the beet before the birds can get to it.

The pilot project is being conducted in cooperation with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Buitengewone Varkens – which means Extraordinary Pigs – and RVR Loonbedrijf.

“The pigs were immediately brought to the field within 12 hours of the sugar beet harvest on Tuesday,” Josse Haarhuis, wo owns the pigs, told De Telegraaf.

“In the coming weeks, bird activity in the area with the pigs will be compared to a reference plot without pigs. The success of the project will be measured using a special bird radar which will map the areas at Schiphol and its surroundings that are frequented most by birds, along with visual observations,” the airport said in a statement.

Schiphol already has 20 bird controllers to keep track of bird activity at the airport. “They work throughout the airfield to keep the birds away at all hours of the night and day, using technology varying from special sounds to laser beams. Other measures are also in place to keep the airfield as unappealing as possible for birds such as special types of grass,” the airport added.

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Written by

Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.


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