The highly publicized accident that landed U.S. Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River after colliding with a flock of geese in January has caused much anxiety throughout the country. Unfortunately, the media failed to highlight how planes are specifically designed to withstand bird strikes. Now, in a desperate attempt to put passengers at ease, New York City plans to kill thousands of Canada geese in the next few weeks, rationalizing that the cull will prevent further plane collisions.
Although the city has culled the Canada geese population on airport property in the past, this new effort marks a significant expansion. New York City recently announced their plans to trap and kill up to 2,000 Canada geese this summer from 40 parks, wastewater treatment plants, and city properties within five miles of JFK and LaGuardia Airports. According to USDA officials, 300 animals have already been killed. Therefore, it is critical that officials hear from you as soon as possible.
The city and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are trapping the geese during their molting season, when the birds are flightless and particularly vulnerable. Once collected, these geese will be gassed to death, yet the repeated slaughter of Canada geese will not prevent future collisions.
The widespread killing will only temporarily reduce the goose population. Canada geese and other animals will move into these spaces around airports because they remain attractive to wildlife.
Instead of killing these animals, New York City should make the airport vicinity less inviting to birds through habitat modification, exclusion and hazing, and by controlling their populations through egg addling – the process by which eggs are removed from the nest, embryo development is stopped, and the egg is then returned to the nest. The presence of dogs is also a persuasive deterrent.
killing thousands of Canada geese in the vicinity of airports will not prevent bird strikes, particularly in the long-term;
to keep geese away from the vicinity of airports, the landscape must be modified to make the area less inviting to the animals;
scare tactics and hazing have been shown to be effective in managing populations of Canada geese;
would like to see tax dollars put towards humane methods to reduce flock growth (i.e. egg-addling) as opposed to killing the birds;
planes are specifically designed to withstand bird strikes;
and bird strikes don’t just occur in the immediate vicinity of airplanes