Ever since 2008, when a flock of geese ran into a plane leaving LaGuardia and forced it into the Hudson, the Port Authority has been working to keep wildlife out away from New York and New Jersey’s airports. (After all, only so many pilots are able to pull off a miracle.) Though the agency stresses that most of the creatures that get too close to the runway are relocated thorough “nonlethal means,” a not insignificant number of those who get too close to the runway end up getting shot. (Though the most beautiful are often spared.) At New Jersey’s Teterboro and Newark airports, at least 6,000 lives — mostly those of birds — have been ended over six years, but, according to the Star-Ledger, “wildlife collisions with aircraft” have remained as common as they were before Captain Sully’s famous flight.
The New Jersey paper says that an animal (again, usually a bird) still runs into an airplane about once every two days. “Though most wildlife strikes do not cause any issue, several planes arriving or departing from New Jersey airports typically do sustain damage each year,” the Star-Ledger notes. Taking them out doesn’t solve the problem, however, because, “The birds, it seems, don’t know that they are supposed to be scared away.” Jeff Tittel of the New Jersey Sierra Club said that, rather than kill the birds, the Port Authority should put “more emphasis should be placed on making the areas immediately around the airport less attractive to wildlife while building up habitats outside an area deemed dangerous to aircraft.” After all, other species shouldn’t have to die just because they’re stupid.