Instead of having the birds fly into airplane engine death traps, federal officials rounded up approximately 700 Canadian geese from New York’s Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge yesterday, to send them upstate to a poultry plant to be euthanized. The move comes after bird strikes with passenger jets have forced many an emergency landing at JFK and LaGuardia Airports.
LaGuardia and JFK saw increases in bird strikes of 28% and 53% respectively between 2009 and 2011. Just in the last few months we’ve reported on strikes out of Westchster Counnty Airport and JFK that resulted in emergency landings. A bird strike was reportedly involved in the flight that Captain “Sully” Sullenberger landed on the Hudson River in January 2009 after taking off from LaGuardia.
The New York Post says the action yesterday ends a fight between the US Department of Agriculture and the National Parks Service over removing the birds.
“We could not afford to sit back and wait for a catastrophe to occur before cutting through bureaucratic red tape between federal agencies,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who pushed the feds for the removal.
“We are finally taking action to help reduce bird strikes and save lives,” she said.
The birds are in their molting season, and thus couldn’t fly. They were rounded up by kayak and on land and herded into crates heading to the poultry plant, where they will likely be gassed. The USDA says the effort should rid the region of the birds.
The goose meat won’t go to waste, says the USDA — it will be given to food pantries.
Just a reminder — if you should witness a bird strike from a plane, don’t whip out your iPad to film it.