Dogs used to reduce bird-plane collisions

Collisions between planes and birds are frequent, costly and can be dangerous

Collisions between birds and aeroplanes cost 1.7 billion euros ($A2.64 billion) each year in damages worldwide, and airports in Germany have taken to using dogs, foxes and birds of prey to avoid such incidents.

There are some 2,100 collisions involving birds and other wild animals in German airspace alone, according to the German Committee for the Prevention of Bird Collisions in Aviation (DAVVL) ahead of a meeting in Stuttgart airport on Wednesday.

While most such incidents are harmless, some do lead to deaths.

The most famous case in recent years was the plane which made a spectacular emergency landing on the Hudson River in New York after a goose flew into one of its the engines. In this case in 2009, all 155 people were saved.

"Sometimes, only a warning shot will get rid of persistent birds," said Cristian Hellberg from the DAVVL.

In many German airports, biological means are being deployed to clear the area of birds: dogs to chase away gulls or geese; birds of prey to hunt crows or herons; and even foxes to make sure that the runways are not comfortable places for birds to land.

Warning shots are a "last resort," Hellberg said.

The variety of tactics have reduced the rate of collisions in Germany compared to the global average. Worldwide there are 10 bird collisions per 10,000 flights; in Germany it is 5.8.