RAF Valley has a dedicated Bird Control Unit (BCU) operated by Safeskys Ltd and controlled by Station Operations. The Unit’s main task is to carry out constant inspections of the airfield during the airfield’s operational hours for any signs of birds flocking either on the ground or in the air. The Unit patrols the airfield in an off-road vehicle.
The BCU uses a variety of methods and equipment to scare birds away from the airfield and in particular those critical areas where birds may endanger a departing or arriving aircraft. This variety is essential to ensure that the flocking birds do not become complacent and accustomed to the scaring methods. Methods include the Digi-Scare, which simulates the distress call of a bird caught by a predator, thus scaring other birds away. This is generally the most efficient method. The Vari Pistol, which uses shell crackers to disperse a large flock of birds, is also an effective method.
General habitat management is also important in deterring flocks of birds from settling at the airfield. This includes the maintenance of the grass by ensuring that it is kept to an appropriate height as well as using weed killer to kill the plants on which birds may feed. However, the height of the grass may easily be affected by long periods of sunshine or rain and so constant monitoring is needed. Inspection of the surrounding area ensures that the habitat is made unfavourable for birds, thus preventing roosting.