You can't always see them, but you can hear them hiding throughout Robins Air Force Base's roughly 7,000 acres, like they do at many airstrips around the country.
"Birds are an issue at any airport, not just our Air Force base," said Tech Sergeant Matthew Miller.
To most folks, they're a mild nuisance, but Sgt. Miller says that's not the case for a plane.
"The bottom line is that any contact between bird and wildlife to our assets, and our military personnel that fly on them is a big concern."
The engine opening on a C5 aircraft is about 8 feet wide, according to Miller, and if a bird gets in there, it can cause hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to the plane or worse.
"What keeps me up at night is that we would have a bird that would cause a catastrophic incident," said Sgt. Miller.
To help keep that from happening, base personnel and USDA Wildlife Services Airport Biologist Marvin Griffin are installing 24 sound cannons around the runway.
They won't hurt the birds. According to Sgt. Miller, "It doesn't shoot off any projectiles, it doesn't kill any birds."
The loud bangs from the cannons scare off the birds and the cry generators -- speakers installed on ten of the units -- emit sounds that mimic distress calls from birds that are typically prey and attack cries from the ones that hunt them.
When it all comes together, the units aim to keep planes and personnel safe in the skies.
The units have been undergoing testing throughout the week. Sgt. Miller says they should be operational by Friday.
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