IECS bird app for construction industry takes flight
A mobile app which calculates how construction noise affects birds in protected areas has been created by University of Hull scientists.
As part of a major European-funded project, academics from the University’s Institute of Estuarine and Coastal Studies (IECS) have created the app for those working in areas covered by wildlife protection regulations, helping planners to assess the disturbance effects of work long before a project starts, or it can be used when work is underway.
The app is part of a toolkit devised as part of the European-wide TIDE project, which has brought together expertise and research on estuaries to improve ecosystem management understanding.
Using data from research in the Humber Estuary, a Natura 2000 protected area, as well as other UK wetland areas, researchers watched how different levels of noise and other activities generated during construction projects affected birds’ behaviour. The data analysed by Nick Cutts and Krystal Hemingway was then translated into an app by colleague Chris Baulcomb.
“Bird populations and their continued protection are potentially a major planning issue for those working on construction projects in protected areas such as estuaries, we hope this app will give them a clear and quick indication of how they can work without disturbing local wildlife,” said Nick Cutts, IECS deputy director and senior ornithologist.
As well as the mapping function, the app also includes a guide to the main bird species likely to be affected, and extra detail such as the months of higher sensitivity when disturbance impacts can be greatest, as well as measures that can be employed to reduce impacts. It can be downloaded to android smart phones or PCs for free via the TIDE website.