RAFF tell residents ‘Don’t feed the birds’ this is coming after two helicopter experience birds trikes forcing military’s aircraft to take another route.

RAF Urges Public to Stop Feeding Birds Amidst Rising Bird Strike Incidents

The RAF (Royal Air Force) has issued a warning to residents in the vicinity of RAF Benson, urging them not to feed birds, especially red kites. This precaution comes after two military aircraft at the helicopter base suffered bird strikes, resulting in significant damage. Red kites, in particular, have become a concern due to their increasing numbers in Oxfordshire, leading to military aircraft having to alter their flight paths to avoid these birds.

Red Kites Pose a Significant Threat to Military Aircraft

Red kites, due to their size and weight, pose a more substantial risk to aircraft when compared to other birds. The RAF Benson base experienced two bird strikes within the past year, with one involving a red kite. In another incident, an aircraft had to change its route during landing after being surrounded by 15 red kites. The situation has prompted RAF Benson to collaborate with local parish and town councils in Cholsey and Wallingford to discourage the public from feeding these birds.

RAF’s Wildlife Management Plan and Natural England’s Endorsement

RAF Benson has implemented an active wildlife management plan to mitigate the risk of bird strikes involving its helicopters. One crucial element of this strategy involves urging the local community not to feed red kites in the proximity of the aerodrome. This approach has received full endorsement from Natural England, as it not only safeguards military aircraft but also helps prevent the birds from colliding with the aircraft.

Red Kites’ Unique Behavior and Challenges in Bird Control

Red kites exhibit behavior that makes them less deterred by conventional bird control measures. They tend to fly at higher altitudes above the airfield’s wildlife control operatives as they search for prey. This unique behavior presents challenges in managing their presence near the aerodrome.

Community Response to the Campaign

Local councils, including Wallingford Town Council, have taken steps to address this issue. They have placed approximately 20 posters in key areas, such as the Kinecroft, the Bull Croft, and the moorings by the River Thames, warning people against feeding red kites. Since the campaign’s launch, there have been no further reported incidents of red kites swooping down to steal food from parks.

Cllr Steve Holder emphasized the campaign’s impact, hoping that it has convinced individuals to stop feeding the red kites, highlighting the consequences of such actions.

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