Transport Airports

New York’s Port Authority Is Being Outwitted by Area Birds

Mar 24, 2014 6:00 am

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Well, it is the Port Authority. When people call them bird brains the birds are incredibly offended.

— Jason Clampet

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Dan Nguyen  / Flickr

Pigeons inside Newark International Airport are just as likely to outwit the Port Authority as those outside the building. Dan Nguyen / Flickr

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey‘s efforts to remove birds and other wildlife that could pose a threat to aircraft safety have had no significant impact, according to a newspaper analysis.

An analysis of Port Authority and Federal Aviation Administration data by The Star-Ledger shows that although the authority has expanded its wildlife management program considerably since 2009, wildlife collisions with aircraft at New Jersey airports have not declined.

Though most wildlife strikes don’t cause any issue, several planes arriving or departing from New Jersey airports typically do sustain damage each year.

The newspaper found an aircraft at one of the Port Authority’s New Jersey airports collides with an animal, typically a bird, about once every two days. That’s remained virtually unchanged every year since 2008.

During that time, however, the number of animals — from European starlings to foxes to the threatened American kestrel — killed by the Port Authority has skyrocketed. In Newark, for example, just 10 animals were killed by the agency in 2008, while 1,267 were killed two years later.

The newspaper found the authority has killed nearly 6,000 animals, mainly birds, since 2008. They were congregated in areas it deemed to be a threat to aircraft safety at Newark Liberty International and Teterboro airports.

The Port Authority asserts that the vast majority of animals are relocated through nonlethal means and lethal measures are generally used only when all other means have been exhausted.

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