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Dogs shoo birds at 20 U.S. airports

Here’s one way to reduce the number of birds at airports, and cut down on accidents like the forced Hudson River landing of US Airways jet last week.

Her name is Sky.

Sky (click the link above for the video) is a 1-year-old border collie about four months into her job shooing birds away from Southwest Florida International Airport.

“She’s not aggressive at all, but to the birds, she looks like a predator — a wolf or a coyote,” said James Hess, airport operations agent and Sky’s handler. Big birds or flocks of birds, in addition to getting sucked into jet engines, can disable wing tips, dent the fuselage and break windshields.

Southwest Florida International is among about 20 airports nationwide using dogs for some form of wildlife control, according to Rebecca Ryan, owner of Flyaway Farm and Kennels in North Carolina, which has supplied dogs to both military and commercial airfields.

Southwest Florida International was among the first U.S. commercial airports to employ a bird dog, beginning in 1999, according to airport director Bob Ball. Sky is the third generation of her breed to patrol the airport southeast of Fort Myers.

According to USA Today, Charleston (S.C.) International and Canada’s Vancouver International also use dogs for wildlife control.


Comment from Anne-n-Spencer
Time January 19, 2009 at 10:11 am

This is so perfect! It’s a low-tech solution to a very serious problem. I think at least one of the bird species mentioned in the video is threatened or endangered. Scaring the birds away seems much preferable to destroying them.

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