why birds collide with airplanes

In this Boston Globe article Dr. S. Allen Counter — a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, a neurophysiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and director of the Harvard Foundation — writes about research he did with gulls at Logan Airport just outside of Boston . He looked at how birds hear and transmit sound and had some interesting findings. He found that intense jet noise may interfere with a bird’s ability to hear by over stimulating the bird’s inner ear hearing receptors. The brain wave responses also showed diminished hearing capacity in older birds. So when the gulls are startled by the noise of a jet taking off, they can get disoriented and fly into the path of the plane rather than away from it.


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