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Airport Wildlife Management

Birds and planes just don't mix!
© Todd Peterson View Large

In January 2009, a US Airways flight completely lost power after striking a flock of Canada Geese. The captain was able to guide the crippled plane to an emergency landing in the Hudson River, and all passengers were safe. Protecting planes is a constant challenge. Wildlife biologist Steve Osmek at Sea-Tac International Airport uses a coyote model mounted to a remote-controlled airboat to chase ducks away from the ponds around the airport. There's a lot more to learn at the Center for Wildlife Damage Management.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Airport Wildlife Management

Written by Todd Peterson
Interview by Todd Peterson and John Kessler

This is BirdNote.
[T27 5:35 Jet airplane taking off]
In January 2009, a US Airways flight completely lost power after striking a flock of Canada Geese. The captain was able to guide the crippled plane to an emergency landing in the Hudson River, and all passengers were safe. 
Airports around the country are taking innovative precautions to avoid such collisions. Wildlife biologist Steve Osmek describes some of the new techniques at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport:
T 26:09   So where we are here...were in the airport operations center…One of the things they have here…is the avian radar.  If you look to the right here…it’s just changed from a light yellow to a dark yellow.  That would indicate that there’s some bird activity in that area, and if there are birds that are sizeable enough…. we might need to do some pyrotechnics or other harassment activity.

[T27, 3:29 Pyrotechnic “screamers and bangers”]
T23 13:35 …One thing we started using is this remote controlled airboat…for chasing ducks off some of the storm water retention ponds that we have around the airport. 

T23 16:20   It’s essentially a coyote model that we mounted to the front of the boat… 18:50 And the idea is that, although these birds… are used to seeing coyotes on land, they’re not used to seeing a coyote moving at 25 miles an hour on the water, [T28 9:45 Airboat revving] and as a result, now this area is not one that they feel comfortable in…

Have a look at that water-skiing coyote, on our website, birdnote.org! 

[Jet plane taking off]
         ###
All sounds recorded by John Kessler
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2013 Tune In to Nature.org            April 2013     Narrator: Michael Stein

ID#   airport-01-2011-04-06

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