Sunday, August 23, 2009

"LAX fends off feathered foes"

That headline in today's Los Angeles Time print edition rankles me to some extent, but I understand that birds cause problems at airports... and a copy editor's predilection for alliteration. The article's deck says "Birds of many sizes can bring down planes, so keeping them from airports is critical." (The head and deck are different in the online version.)

It's not just the big birds -- like the Canada Geese that brought down US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River -- that prompt concern. European Starlings received the nickname "bullets with wings."

Red-tailed Hawk, courtesy of Los Angeles Times

From the article:
Starlings also fly in the crowded skies above Los Angeles International Airport, a major concern of biologist Todd Pitlik, who works for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. His job is to control the wildlife populations at LAX, where more than 940 animal strikes involving commercial aircraft were reported between 1990 and 2008. About 4% of the collisions caused substantial damage to engines, wings and fuselages.

Pitlik's work isn't easy. LAX's 3,500 acres just east of the Pacific Ocean contain a menagerie of birds and small mammals that inhabit the drainage ditches, trees, dunes and grassy flats that surround the four runways of the nation's third-busiest airport.
Pitlik's work definitely isn't easy. Read the entire piece. Like he said, "It is important to minimize risk and liability, but it's also important to take care of the wildlife."

Kudos to South Bay Wildlife Rehab for its role. The nonprofit organization has taken in almost 40 hawks and falcons removed from three local airports, then released them elsewhere.

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Blogger Ecesis Factor said...

the irritation on this bird's face sort o summarizes my current mood. lol. misery really does love company, for this image made me smile.

August 23, 2009 5:45 PM  

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