Tag Archives: bird strikes

more on bird strikes

Everyone’s jumping on the bird strike bandwagon — “it’s a problem waiting to happen,” “risk of catstrophic collisions with planes is rising” — but this is a man-made problem. Look at the siting of airports on the edges of marshy swampy lands that provide wonderful habitat for birds. Look at the explosion of the Canada geese population because people insist on creating lovely expansive lawns and golf courses that geese love. Couple that with the downtick in hunting and, yeah,  you’ve got a problem.

Here’s a neat chart:


Large birds (over 4 pounds) involved in the most collisions with aircraft since 1990:

Bird Collisions with aircraft
Canada goose 1,152
Turkey vulture 354
Great blue heron 220
Bald eagle 111
Sandhill crane 77
Snow goose 75
Double-crested cormorant 60

Sources: U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Federal Aviation Administration


I predict this will be a boon for falconers who want to fly birds at airports. It’s also a great opportunity for dog handlers and species like border collies who herd and chase by instinct. At least 20 airports already use dogs to control the wildlife.


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bird strikes

Everyone is talking about the danger of bird strikes and airplanes today. This has been a problem for planes for years but I guess it took the crash landing of the USAirways flight into the Hudson River for the general public to take this seriously. See this amazing video of the plane landing in the water.

I knew a falconer who flew her birds at JFK as part of a bird control program — that airport has employed falconers for years. This, in addition to altering the habitat so that it’s less attractive to some birds will go a long way toward keeping birds out of the flight paths of planes that are landing or taking off.

Heard an interview on NPR’s All Things Considered with a woman from the feather identification lab at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History who works on figuring out what kinds of birds hit planes. She  studies the snarge — that’s the bird goo that is wiped off an aircraft after it hits a bird.  Now there’s a job.

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