New York: Nearly 70,000 birds have been killed since 2009 to make flights safer for New York City area, but it doesn’t appear to have reduced bird strikes.
The birds that have been killed include gulls, starling and geese, mostly by shooting and trapping, since the 2009 accident in which a jetliner was forced to land in the Hudson river after birds were sucked into its engine.
It is not clear whether those killings have made the skies any safer.
According to statistics compiled by a news agency, after the killings, bird strikes by planes taking off or landing at New York’s LaGuardia and New Jersey’s Newark airports actually increased.
The airports tallied 158 strikes per year in the five years before the Hudson river accident and an average of 299 per year in the six years after it, even though tens of thousands of birds were killed after the emergency river landing.
At Kennedy Airport, which routinely killed birds before Sulleberger’s crash because it’s on a major migration route, the number of reported strikes has also increased, though the number of birds killed has dropped slightly.
The killings and statistics are disheartening to bird lovers. Jeffrey Kramer of GooseWatch NYC said that, there has to be a long term solution that doesn’t rely so extensively on killing birds and also keep people safe in the sky.
Officials involved in the bird-killing programmes say they believe they’ve made flying safer, with their strongest argument being the fact that there hasn’t been a major crash involving a bird strike in the New York area since the “Miracle on the Hudson.”
While the aircraft hit birds over New York on a daily basis, incidents resulting in damage to a plane remain relatively rare and usually involve larger bird varieties.
Among the 70,000 birds killed were 28,000 seagulls, 16,800 Europeans starlings, 6,000 brown headed cowbirds and 4,500 mourning doves. Close to 1,800 Canada geese were also eradicated.