Bright idea to combat flying foes


WAGENINGEN University in the Netherlands has found a hi-tech means of virus-prevention. And no, this has nothing to do with Covid.

two mallards in flight over waterThe virus in this instance is avian flu; Dutch free-range poultry farms were being infected by visiting wild waterfowl. Instead of considering traps or culling, the university experimented with lasers. Not to knock the birds out of the sky, but to stop them from coming in.

Wageningen Bio-veterinary Research faculty knew mallards were coming into a free-range poultry farm. The species is known to carry the virus, and the chickens were exposed.

The laser deterrent spooks birds by projecting a green beam; the birds see it as a solid object, and a possible threat. It’s enough to put them off.

The initiative cut invasion by feral birds by 99.7 percent, which is good news for humans, too. According to the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), humans can contract avian flu – with 15 countries recording cases over the past two decades. Most have been linked to contact with infected poultry.