Are a Lot of Birds in New York About to Die?

geese nyc planes killing

Well, of course, because it’s the week of Thanksgiving. But also: the pilot of a Virgin America flight from San Francisco landing at JFK yesterday reported that his plane hit a bird, Gothamist reports. (Actually, Gothamist reports that birds hit the plane, because they’re obviously birdist.) “The pilot reported smelling smoke in the cockpit and declared an emergency,” according to news reports. Photographs of the damage reveal a dented engine smeared with blood. “WABC 7 says no one was injured,” Gothamist reports—except the birds! Geez!

Such birdism in the media pales in comparison to the biggest birdist of them all: the city of New York, in cahoots with the feds. Remember in 2009 when a plane hit a bird and Captain Sully landed it in the Hudson? Shortly thereafter more than 1,000 geese were killed, and more than 1,700 eggs coated in oil to suffocate the developing goslings inside, the Times reported—even though the birds that took the plane down were migratory; had the native population been reduced before the accident, it wouldn’t have prevented it. There’s also some controversy about whether killing large populations of geese actually makes it safer to fly airplanes. But that hasn’t stopped the practice from becoming an annual ritual: just this July, the Department of Agriculture rounded up about 500 birds in Jamaica Bay, and a few hundred more elsewhere.

With strikes such as yesterday’s, don’t expect them to stop anytime soon.

Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart

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