Saturday, March 03, 2018

Des Moines International Airport (KDSM) tries to avoid wild goose chase as birds migrate

DES MOINES, Iowa —  The Des Moines International Airport has been warning pilots this week about flocks of geese as they migrate north at the beginning of spring.

Des Moines' year-round overpopulation of geese and the natural migration of birds has the air-traffic control tower on the lookout after numerous recent emergency plane landings.

A collision with geese forced a landing on the Hudson River in New York in 2009, and another forced an emergency landing in California.

Planes rarely hit geese or other wildlife, and airport officials are working to keep it that way.

The Des Moines airport only reports one or two run-ins a year, but it's uncommon, thanks to a wildlife maintenance plan led by a United States Department of Agriculture biologist. As part of a deal between the airport and the USDA, biologists work in downtown Des Moines in an effort to push birds farther away from the airport.

The strategy is to limit things that would attract wildlife, such as incorporating ginkgo trees, noisemakers, odors and create distractions to shoo birds away from the runway.

All of those precautions are just another way of ensuring safety in the skies, said Kevin Foley, executive director and general manager of the Des Moines International Airport.

"Birds have been around for as long as we've had planes flying," he said. "It's just one of those things you have to be aware of and try to monitor."

Original article can be found here ➤

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