Ice Free Wind Sensors (IFWS) use ultrasonic technology to measure the wind speed and direction and report these values to the Automated Surface Observing System or ASOS. ASOS is used by multiple agencies, but most often for aviation.
The open space around the measurement unit of the wind sensor provides a convenient space for birds to sit inside the sample space. Subsequent flapping of wings can result in erroneous wind speeds and missing wind data. This is a safety hazard to aviation at the very least, but also negatively impacts data samples.
In an effort to alleviate the IFWS data issues, the Sterling Field Support Center, which is an extension of the National Weather Service (NWS), developed a bird deterrent device. This device, which keeps the birds from interfering in the sample space of the IFWS, has been tested and deployed within the existing network of over 600 sensors in the U.S.
The Hoop Style Bird Deterrent is made of stainless steel and consists of three arms that attach at the base of the IFWS. The arms also meet at the top and are attached to a hoop shaped piece of steel. The shape of the deterrent makes it more difficult for larger birds, which are the ones primarily responsible for erroneous and missing data, from getting in between the transducers. NOAA is providing the design and manufacturing specifications to industry on a royalty free basis (see attached document) to help improve future sensor designs.
Companies wishing to employ the device should indicate where appropriate that the device was invented and reduced to practice by David Eckberg of NOAA's National Weather Service Sterling Field Support Center.