Burners & Raptors

The photos below show a burned American Kestrel and Red-tailed hawk. Burners are used in many industries to eliminate gases. In landfills, methane burners are the ‘green’ way to reduce toxic gas emissions produced from decomposing material at landfills. Birds may try to land on a burner that is flaring and scorch their feathers and other body parts. Some burners are on intermittently, so a raptor already perched on the flare when the flare is turned on, can sustain fatal results. Raptors can also simply fly over the flare and singe their feathers, rendering them flightless. Then they fall victim to ground predators or starve before they can replace feathers.


Methane Burner Best Management Practices

Please feel free to download “Methane Burner Impacts on Raptors”. This document summarizes the problem and provides best management practices to reduce methane burner fatalities and injuries to raptors. Click on the red button below to view. (The report is a PDF that can be read by Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have this software, please click here to get Acrobat Reader.)

Methane Burner Impacts

Methane Burner Survey

The Survey below is a request for any documentation of methane or oil and natural gas burner injuries to birds of prey in your area. We have initiated a study to document injuries and fatalities, since the severity of the problem has not yet been established with actual numbers. Not all burners are going to cause problems. We have contacted organizations that have access to raptors either through rehabilitation, falconry, bird banding or the facilities themselves. Many of these facilities with burners that have killed or injured raptors, neither recognize the problem or the solution. We want to work with these facilities, not against them. The goal of this project is to compile a list of typical problems in order to develop solutions to be incorporated into a best management practices document.

  1. If you work with raptors and have never seen this type of injury, then it is still very important that you fill out Section 1 of the survey. A negative response is just as important as a positive one. Your time is much appreciated.
  2. If you have dealt with burned raptor victims, please fill out both Sections 1 and 2 as best you can and return via email or postal mail at your convenience. (Contact information is provided in the survey.)

Burner Survey

The survey is a PDF that can be read by Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have this software, please click here to get Acrobat Reader. If the survey opens within your browser window, please be sure to download the form to your desktop and open directly with Acrobat so that you may save your answers and print/email.

This project is supported in part by Covanta Energy Corporation, Nuttall Ornithological Club, Eastern Mass Hawk Watch and South Shore Bird Club.

The Kestrel images may not be reproduced without the permission of Joey Mason © 2011.