When the Geese Strike

February 10, 2011 | Environment

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

The seasonal migration of birds can cause danger to aviation as they might stray into the plane’s flight path and bring disastrous consequences.

Early last year, thousands of geese were killed to protect aircrafts around the JFK and La Guardia airports in New York.  Officials enforced a goose no-fly zone in the area after several incidents of planes colliding with flock of birds that resulted into engines being disabled and planes crashing.   Since 1988, more than 200 people have been killed all over the world due to bird strikes. Reports also revealed that the jet plane crash in the Hudson River in 2009 was due to bird strike.

How could birds bring down a plane? The collision usually happens when the aircraft is close to the ground, which is after take-off or before landing. This is also the time when the engines are in full speeds. This means that the birds are sucked into the engines and the impact causes fan blade displacement which leads to engine failure.  All bird migrations bring hazard to aviation but geese are more dangerous because they are big in size and fly in large groups.  For the past years, airports have been experiencing more Canada Goose strikes.   For public safety particularly around the airport areas, authorities established a “zero-tolerance policy” for Canada geese.

Interesting facts about the Canada Geese:

  • Breed in Canada and in the northern part of the U.S.
  • Very large population in the Great Lakes region
  • Their droppings, noise and behaviour are nuisance to many people
  • Known for seasonal migrations and can fly up to 1,000 km/day
  • V-shaped flock formation during migration makes it easier for them to fly and communicate
  • Most talkative animals and can produce different sounds to give warnings, show satisfaction or even to greet each other

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