Shooting, Scaring, and Other Means to Keep Birds at Bay

The other day I felt priviledged to tell a guy in the cafe the whole story about the plane that landed in the Hudson. As if living under a rock, on Friday he hadn’t heard the tale yet. I found out more about how airports deal with the problem of birds getting sucked into engines in tonight’s WSJ.

“The accident also raised questions about whether airports around the country are doing enough to deal with bird flocks. The agency that operates New York City’s major airports said it has a multimillion-dollar program to chase birds off its property, but can only do so much to protect planes once they are in the air.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said it kills thousands of birds every year in the marshy waterways and tidal flats that surround its two major airports in Queens, and uses guns, pyrotechnics and hawks to drive away birds.

Among the other tactics: Bird eggs are coated in oil to prevent them from hatching. Nests are removed. The agency also plays recordings of bird distress calls, and landscapers remove shrubs and trees that might be attractive to certain species.

Sometimes aircraft have to take evasive action to avoid flocks of geese. Other times, it’s too late and they can only hope for the best.”