Friday, May 11, 2012

Silent Drums A Blazing

Bad news seems to pour in during these lovely spring days like some juxtaposed, Tsunami.
At the top of the list today is news that the popular TV show, "Grey's Anatomy" will next week air, "Strike" -- an episode featuring a plane collision with birds resulting in high human casualty and loss. While not known if the "culprit" birds will be geese, (who actually rank very low in actual bird/plane collisions as article link below attests to), it appears the message and likely result of this program will be to needlessly invoke and heighten public fear about potential airline collisions with birds and promulgate the myth that such strikes are common and usually result in plane crashes and high human casualty.
The actual facts are that even when airliners collide with birds, they rarely if ever "crash" and no one has died on a commercial airliner following a collision with Canada geese.  Most bird strikes cause no substantical damage and in almost all cases, planes continue on trips or, in more extreme instances, return safely to airports.
Of course there is the one, "Miracle on the Hudson" incident in which the plane did collide with two geese and successfully averted a tragedy.  But, even flight 1549 must be put into perspective: 
* This was one flight out of billions that traverse our skies. 
*  The two geese were migratory geese from Labrador, Canada who had nothing to do with "resident" geese "loafing" in NYC parks and rarely going anywhere.
*  The particular airliner had mechanical issues on previous flight and nearly had to emergency land.
*  The birds were apparently visible on radar, but for whatever reason, this was not sufficient enough to avert near tragedy.
Personally, I believe the Miracle on the Hudson incident to be a kind of "perfect storm" of bizarre events that led to a one-in-a-billion occurrence.
But, it has provided good rationale for a seemingly never ending "war" on Canada geese and apparently excellent fodder to TV producers and executives for, "May sweeps" ratings.
Other bad news for geese this week is the latest document report from the USDA:
While this is very cumbersome and laborious material to wade through, it will be necessary to do so over coming weeks in order to prepare some meaningful and relative "comment" before June 11th.
Nevertheless, the bottom line is that regardless of what anyone comments to this "management" plan, the wheels are already in motion for it. We can hope to influence in some small way, but the plan itself moves forward.
It is speculated that the fictional TV show to air next week to millions across the country will further enhance the drum beat to round up and kill the geese. (Just like drumbeats of "Weapons of Mass Destruction" leading up to war in Iraq, 11 years ago.)  The timing of the Grey's Anatomy program could not in fact, be better -- just a few weeks before scheduled Canada goose roundups in the crown jewel of cities -- New York City.  .
Perfect Storms, indeed.  They just seem to keep coming.
Nevertheless, not to be entirely "doom and gloom" on this sunny spring day, there was one excellent piece of journalism to come out very recently: 
The journalist putting this piece together made the effort and took the time to look up actual government statistics involving bird strikes with planes in NYC (particularly, Canada geese).  When looking at actual data, it is hard to understand the justifications for the relentless war against Canada geese. (This article is one to save for quick and accurate access to fact and stats.)
It seems the goose roundup and kill campaigns are conducted more for protection from possible multi-million dollar lawsuits arising out of any potential bird/airline collision. (Presumably one could sue FAA, airline carrier, or even city if suffering damage, loss or emotional trauma from such potential collision.) The killings are also seemingly done for political grandstanding and opportunity (particularly for one New York Senator) and "make work" (and money) for USDA "Wildlife Services" -- whose main expertise is killing animals. 
But, the slaughter of thousands of resident geese in New York City has virtually nothing to do with actual airline safety as the above article and statistical information demonstrates.
Yet, despite actual facts, the "perfect storm" continues.
I truly fear for the few pitiful geese being observed in Central Park these days.
Even Mama and Papa goose (pictured) -- who in fact, never leave the Boat Lake cannot be assumed to be "safe."
Little do the geese know that perfect storms don't actually arrive in the dead of winter, but rather in the stillness and silent tiptoes of a lazy summer morning in the park.
Silent drums a blazing. -- PCA

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