Airport firing air cannons to scare off birds

Air cannons are being fired at the airport to help scare birds away from the runway, according to the Cayman Islands Airports Authority.

The cannons, called “Zon Guns,” create loud popping noises that have proved particularly effective in scaring the cattle egrets that gather inside the airport perimeter fence, the Airports Authority said in a statement this week.

The Cayman Islands Airports Authority is using 'Zon Gun' air cannons to scare cattle egrets from the runway at Owen Roberts International Airport.
The Cayman Islands Airports Authority is using ‘Zon Gun’ air cannons to scare cattle egrets from the runway at Owen Roberts International Airport.

“The bird migration season has started and at any given time between 15-25 cattle egrets gather inside the airport perimeter fence, creating a hazard to aircraft,” the press release stated.

Officials acknowledge that the cannons’ noise can be distracting for residents in the area, but the Airports Authority’s Chief Safety Management Officer Andrew McLaughlin said, “The air cannons are only deployed on an as needed basis and only in response to dangerous bird concentrations on the airport.”

He added, “Bird strikes are a very serious problem for airports all over the world, however, through the CIAA’s consistent and proactive approach, we are able to maintain an acceptable level of safety for flight operations.”

The Airports Authority is also appealing to the public to help mitigate the potential threat to aircraft from birds by reporting any wildlife sightings to airport staff at 244-5835, covering trash cans in the surrounding areas, picking up garbage and not feeding the birds in the areas near the airport.

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