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Up to 2,000 Canadian Geese to be Euthanized as Part of Bird Strike Removal Plan for NYC Airports

Locations in this article:  New York City, NY

Two Canada geese In the wake of the Hudson River landing of US Airways Flight 1549, up to 2,000 Canada geese will be killed in the New York City area to help prevent future bird strikes.

The geese will be removed–and then euthanized–from 40 city-owned properties from within 5 miles of John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, under an initiative implemented by the city, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The geese will be rounded up and euthanized using carbon dioxide in a method that has been approved by the American Veterinary Association, in a process even the bird-loving Audubon Society seems to agree is necessary. Previous efforts to simply relocate the migratory birds were not deemed a success in reducing air safety incidents.

The process will take place between mid-June and the end of July, which is the birds’ molting season, when they are less mobile.

Bird Shadows Against the SunsetThe initiative also calls for the installation of bird-detecting radar at JFK, increased vigilance in the feeding of geese in wildlife habitats, and additional shotgun training for its field wildlife supervisors. The city will also fill in a depression on Rikers Island that has been known to attract geese.

The FAA said at the recent National Transportation Safety Board hearing on the Hudson River landing that it will also consider raising engine safety standards. Currently, engines must be able to shut down safely after being hit by a 4-pound bird, and keep operating at a lower power for at least five minutes if hit by seven 1.5-pound birds.

Airplane strikes of wildlife have risen drastically over the years, up from 1,759 in 1990 to 7,666 in 2007. The birds that took down Flight 1549 were migrating geese from Canada, which collided with the plane at 2,900 feet and got caught in the engine.

It is estimated that there are upwards of 25,000 resident Canada geese in the region, with another 25,000 migrating through the area each year.

By Sarika Chawla for

Related links: New York Times, Bloomberg, Village Voice, Associated Press

Everyone’s favorite heroic pilot, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, recently testified before the NTSB hearings on the miraculous Hudson River landing. Find out what he had to say, and how the industry can learn from this experience in Dual Engine Failure, Bird Strikes Lead Topics at NTSB Hudson Landing Hearing.

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