NEW YORK – Warning of a possible disaster if something isn’t done soon, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is pushing lawmakers to make it easier for wildlife officials to cull Canada geese and other birds near New York City airports, where two jet-bird collisions have been reported in the last 10 days.
The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge near John F. Kennedy International Airport is home to hundreds of species of birds and other creatures. Its proximity to JFK has led to some unusual animal-aircraft encounters. In July, jets using one runway were delayed briefly as scores of turtles that lay their eggs at the refuge began waddling across the pavement.
On April 19, a Delta Air Lines jet bound for Los Angeles made an emergency landing at JFK shortly after taking off from the airport when birds were sucked into one of its engines. Five days later, a JetBlue flight bound for Florida returned to Westchester Airport north of the city minutes after it hit two Canada geese upon takeoff.
Gillibrand said her bill would cut through red tape that is slowing response to the issue and require the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other agencies to expedite completion of an environmental study to clear the way for removal of Canada geese from Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge this summer.