Gerald R. Ford International Airport Prepares for Pest Bird Landings

A new 4,800-vehicle four-level parking structure, site work and a grand canopy entry area are currently under construction at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in the Grand Rapids area. The approximately $115-million project began in September 2007 and it is expected to be completed in October 2009.  The Grand Canopy is a glass structure attached to the parking garage covering the roadway and two skywalks to the Gerald R. Ford International Airport terminal.  Whether you are waling or driving, you will be protected from the elements. The $114 million budgeted for the project includes roadway changes and utilities. The infrastructure improvements include a new entrance plaza to the airport grounds and an exit plaza from the parking structure. 


Netting Under Canopy at Portland International Airport.

Gerald R. Ford International Airport is managed and operated by the Kent County Department of Aeronautics. Approximately 5,500 travelers pass through Gerald R. Ford International Airport each day. The airport covers nearly 3,200 acres (over five square miles), an area almost as large as the city of Grandville and a bit larger than East Grand Rapids.  The new parking structure is being built to accommodate future increased airport traffic.

Part of the planning for the project included providing some sort of bird control on the canopy.  This was deemed necessary because of the lessons learned at the Portland International Airport in Oregon.  A similar canopy was constructed there that soon became home to thousands of pigeons.  It order to get rid of the pigeons in Portland, over 18,000 sq. ft. of bird netting was installed.  To avoid this problem in Grand Rapids, bird control netting was included in the project specifications.  The job went to bid in July of 2007.  The bird control portion of the project was awarded in December of 2007.  The contractor was to hang approximately 180,000sq. ft. of bird control netting on the underside of the Grand Canopy to protect it from pest birds.  



Using 85’ lifts to install bird netting.


Bird Netting Under Canopy Infrastructure.

The bird netting system is to be installed under the infrastructure of the Grand Canopy.  Under the glass top is a network of beams that support the glass top; these beams make perfect landing, roosting and nesting areas for pest birds such as pigeons.  Installation of the netting in October of 2008.  An 8-man crew was used to install the netting in 12 different bays. The netting is attached to a cable system that is installed along the main trusses of the canopy.  The areas are reached using 85’ and in some cases 135’ lifts. It took 6 weeks to finish 6.5 bays, and then the bird control installers were caught up to the construction crew.  As soon as the construction is complete on the rest of the bays, the bird control installers will return and finish installing the bird netting.  Bird netting was specified for this job because it is an all inclusive products.  Installing it under girders of the canopy makes it impossible for birds to land on the infrastructure.  It is also virtually invisible once installed; this ensures that the visual aesthetics of the canopy’s architecture is not disturbed.  Bird netting also has a long guarantee, it should last up to if not longer than 10-years.

Besides the bird netting, bird spikes will be installed along the Welcome Wall to keep pigeons from landing and roosting there. Bird spikes are a great way to keep pest pigeons from landing on flat surfaces.  What kind of Welcome would it be if the wall was covered with bird feces?  Bird Spikes are available in polycarbonate plastic and stainless steel.  The stainless steel where chosen for this job.  Stainless Steel Bird Spikes are a long lasting, low visibility, economical bird control deterrent.   The bird spikes will be installed in the final phase of the project sometime in April of 2009.

All of the bird control products installed on the Gerald R. Ford Airport were purchased from Bird-B-Gone, Inc.. Bird-B-Gone is the largest manufacturer of bird deterrent products in North America.  Bird-B-Gone, Inc. offers over 100 products to deter pest birds.  For more information contact them at (800) 392-6915.  Bird-B-Gone, Inc. has a network of Authorized Installers available across the nation

Fran Prisco lives and writes in Southern California. She has been in the bird control industry for over 8 years. Her areas of interests span from running and bicycling to volunteer work and golfing.

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Posted by admin | Posted in Birds | Posted on 16-03-2010

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