The Geese at JFK Airport
“No one was hurt,” according to an AP report after a second collision in one week between a plane and a goose near Kennedy Airport. Well, not to sound like a “crazy goose lady,” but someone was indeed hurt – killed, in fact.
Most of the reports explained that a goose had flown into one of the engines. From the point of view of the geese, who live at a federal wildlife refuge close to JFK, the planes had flown into the geese.
In Tuesday’s collision the plane was headed for Florida, and in last week’s collision the plane had just taken off for Los Angeles. No one reported on where the geese were headed when they were struck by a plane.
The geese have their airport at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, and they’ve been flying in and out of there for a considerably longer time than JFK airport has been around.
But U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has now proposed a plan to round up geese from Jamaica Bay and kill them.
Gillibrand’s bill would empower the U.S. Department of Agriculture to “remove” Canada geese from the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge during June and July when they are molting and can’t fly.
“We cannot and should not wait another day to act while public safety is at risk,” the New York Democrat said in a statement.
“It’s the only bird refuge that we have in New York City,” responded Edita Birnkrant, New York director of Friends of Animals. “If they can’t be protected in a wildlife refuge, then where can they be protected?”
Allen Gosser, assistant New York state director of wildlife services for the US Department of Agriculture, said the agency would welcome the legislation. The USDA rounds up birds at Kennedy, LaGuardia and Westchester airports and gasses them. They also have programs to scare the geese with starter pistols, shoot them with real guns, and put corn oil on their eggs to smother the unborn chicks.
Are there other options? Almost certainly, but as long as Option A is killing them, as promoted by powerful senators, no one is going to spend much time looking for alternatives.