Raptor Injuries and Deaths Attributed to Landfill Methane Burners:
Initially the issue of raptor injuries and deaths attributed to landfill methane burners came to the attention of some members of the Michigan Hawking Club when Dianne Moller, and others, reported this problem which has been occurring in other states. After reviewing their work MHC members Karen Young and Sue Ryan were invited to present a paper on this topic at the MiBCI 3rd Annual Ornithological Congress in Petoskey, MI on April 5, 2009. A copy of the paper presented can be found here
The project has garnered interest among MHC members, Audubon members, bird rehabilitators, and others interested in wildlife related issues. In order to make the most recent information available a webpage on the MHC website has been developed to inform interested parties and provide updates on the status of this project
At the MHC business meeting in Lansing on April 18, 2009 the club voted to invest $500 seed money to undertake further development of this project. Several club members, including Karen Young and Sue Ryan, agreed to pursue the project to the next phase which would be to examine the extent of the problem in Michigan. Current plans are to survey raptor rehabilitators around the state to find out if they are reporting raptors that appear to be victims of methane burners.
The next step would be to identify problem landfill sites that are currently using the “candle” type methane burners that pose a threat to raptors.
Subsequently landfill management entities would be contacted about providing a solution to the problem (most likely putting a spiked collar around the vent of the burners to prevent birds from perching there along with an alternate tower for perching). It is hoped that these sites would voluntarily apply these adaptations to their operations. If voluntary efforts are not forthcoming strategies would be developed for other non-voluntary solutions, but this is tentative at this time as information is not yet available as to the extent of the problem and regarding landfill management views on implementing solutions.