Saturday, January 17, 2009

Few favors for feathered friends from frequent fliers

In contrast to the fuss made over the occasional bird or bat accidentally killed by wind turbines, birds unfortunate enough to nest near airports are systematically exterminated as pests, and the question asked is "Are we doing enough to kill the birds?"
The accident also raised questions about whether airports around the country are doing enough to deal with bird flocks.
The agency that operates New York City's major airports said it has a multimillion-dollar program to chase birds off its property, but can only do so much to protect planes once they are in the air.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said it kills thousands of birds every year in the marshy waterways and tidal flats that surround its two major airports in Queens, and uses guns, pyrotechnics and hawks to drive away birds.
Among the other tactics: Bird eggs are coated in oil to prevent them from hatching. Nests are removed. The agency also plays recordings of bird distress calls, and landscapers remove any shrubs and trees that might be attractive to certain species.
Source: AP news article in the IHT
A network of maglev trains connecting the major cities will work so much better than the jet-propelled, winged aluminum canisters careening through snow, sleet, rain, and flocks of seagulls that we have today, even though the wind turbines and concentrated solar collectors to power the maglevs may whack or roast a few birds, too. Perhaps you could shave a few hours off by flying, if it's coast-to-coast across the continent, but the carbon tax may be prohibitative.

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