Low-flying aircraft pilots and wildlife disturbance

Low flying small aircraft on the California coast are disturbing fragile bird populations, including the Murres that nest on Devil’s Slide Rock near Half Moon Bay. The Seabird Protection Network – a program of the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary – has undertaken extensive outreach efforts to educate California pilots on the impact of low flying on bird breeding sites, sending out informational pamphlets and speaking at events. They have also begun to design a behavioral intervention, employing the behavioral interventions of “commitment-setting” and social norming.

Root Solutions partnered with the Seabird Protection Network to determine whether a commitments campaign would solve the problem. We conducted a barriers and benefits analysis with California pilots from multiple airports to understand what is stopping them from adjusting their altitude along the coast in areas where it is not legislated that they fly above 1000 feet.

The Seabird Protection Network is a multi-organization collaborative that works to reduce human disturbance to seabirds and other marine wildlife along the California coast.
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