Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Good News/Bad News -- Bird Migrations, Bird Strikes



Migratory Canada geese arriving to.... 
and departing the Central Park Reservoir
"They should get rid of them!" quips the old woman.

The good news is, bird migrations are in full swing now.
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The bad news is, bird migrations are in full swing now.
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Yesterday, a passenger airliner en route to the Virgin Islands struck a migrating flock of geese and had to return to JFK airport. No one was injured and the plane showed no obvious damage, but was taken out of service pending further inspection. Except for the inconvenience to passengers, this was a "non-incident." (Although to the geese who perished, the event was catastrophic.)
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Nevertheless, the story headlined most of the local news yesterday, prompting one old woman interviewed to quip, "They should get rid of them (the birds)! They shouldn't be there in the first place."
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Speaking personally, this is very frustrating.
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Normally, the sights and sounds of goose and other bird migrations are very exciting and something I look forward to twice a year.
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But not when something natural that has been occurring for eons results in news stories like these and people complaining that birds should be, "gotten rid of."
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One has to reasonably fear an escalation in government orchestrated goose kills in New York City -- as if 5,000 resident Canada geese gassed and slaughtered in NYC over the past five years wasn't enough.
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Unfortunately, killing thousands of resident geese in the summer months who barely fly over park trees does absolutely nothing to prevent planes from flying into migratory geese traveling over the Atlantic flyway in the fall and spring. It just makes people like the old woman interviewed "feel good" that something is being done, when it fact, nothing productive is accomplished.
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The one technology that would be most effective in preventing bird strikes is the implementation of Avian Radar at airports which is already in use in countries like Israel and Japan, as well as Texas and Washington in the states.
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But, apparently the Port Authority and the New York City airports don't want to invest the money in avian radar, as this recent NBC report describes:
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It's apparently much easier and cheaper to kill geese living in local parks and then tell the public "something is being done" to address airline bird strikes when that something is akin to arresting people in Boston for crime problems occurring in New York City.  It makes about as much sense and accomplishes the same result: Punishing those having nothing to do with the incidents, while at the same time, rejecting technologies specifically designed to prevent the incidents in the first place.
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Last night I watched as flocks of migratory geese  flew into and out of the Central Park Reservoir en route to long journeys north. 
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It was like being at an airport and watching incoming and departing flights.
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But my enthusiasm and excitement were dampened -- especially when watching the outgoing goose flocks rise high in the skies and towards the clouds drifting north, honking in their anticipation and excitement.
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I had to hope that some airliner was not going to suddenly obstruct the path they have been taking for thousands of years.
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Yes, the good news is that bird migrations are now in full swing.
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But, the bad news is also that bird migrations are in full swing.
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May God bless and keep safe, their treacherous routes. -- PCA
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2 comments:

Mary C. said...

Another poignant post.

Yes my reaction to the bird strike was "JUST STOP THIS NONSENSE News reporting>" Ironically this bit was followed by a phane from DC that had to land because of an unruly passenger.

Thank you from the geese - and me.

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