New Yorkers will soon see less birds and more planes in the sky this summer.
City officials plan on working with the U.S. Agriculture Department to hunt and kill as many as 2,000 Canadian geese that fly within five miles of near its two major airports in Queens -- JFK and LaGuardia -- to avoid future avian-related accidents.
The five-mile radius includes wastewater treatment facilities and about 40 parks, including the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, which hosts the U.S. Open.
The strategy comes after the "Miracle On The Hudson" emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 by Captain Chesley Sullenberger. He safely landed the plane in the middle of the Hudson River after declaring a double bird strike shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport.
Flight 1549 lost both of its engines when it crossed paths with a flock of geese over the Bronx.
"The incident served as a catalyst to strengthen our efforts in removing geese from, and discouraging them from nesting on, city property near our runways," stated Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in a statement.
Hunters will trap the geese and gas them with carbon dioxide as soon as next week. The hunt will be from mid-June to the end of July and it coincides with the geese's molting season, a period in which the birds are not able to fly.
There are approximately 20,000 to 25,000 Canadian geese in the metropolitan area and its numbers have grown over the years due to the city's ideal breeding habitiat -- lots of grazing areas and few predators. Most of the city's Canadian geese population live on Riker's Island.
Riker's Island, which is home to the city's jail complex, is just north of LaGuardia Airport and will go through its sixth annual goose hunt next week.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency that manages both airports, has been managing its bird population for decades by shooting tens of thousands of birds.
The Port Authority plans on increasing its efforts its wildlife control efforts by training more airport workers on how to use a shotgun, tracking flocks of birds with a radar system and hiring a second full-time biologist.
However, local residents and politicians are concerned about a plan to build a waste transfer station in College Point, Queens -- a mere 2,000 feet from LaGuardia Airport. They say the garbage-to-barge station is likely to become a magnet for birds.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun