Planet Earth

Sudden Impact

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorOct 6, 2010 7:15 PM

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The Wildlife Society asks:

Can a 10 pound bird bring down an 80 ton airplaine?

Hell yeah:

When an aircraft and a goose collide, the goose weighs more than an elephant during the instant of collision. This force is enough to cripple an aircraft and can force emergency landings (We all remember the Miracle on the Hudson). Birds colliding with airplanes are not rare events; on average this kind of accident happens almost 20 times a day.

So what to do? Well, for one thing, you can disappear the culprits overnight. But in this case, there is a question as to whether the right culprits were rounded up, or whether that was even a very nice thing to do. Since The Wildlife Society (on its blog) doesn't address what seems to be the root cause of the skyrocketing geese populations, let me direct you to this decade-old High Country News story:

"Basically we have created a goose buffet with our grass lawns in parks, yards and golf courses," says Helen Ross of the Seattle Audubon Society. She points out that geese have abundant nesting sites, no predators, and easy access to their favorite food: freshly cut grass. "Geese are symptomatic of our long-term, poor management of urban ecosystems," she says.

So we created the problem. Where have I heard this story before? Anyway, here's the deal we cosmopolitan nature lovers have with wildlife, be it in Brooklyn or Boulder, Colorado: Don't get too close, or I'll have to kill you. (And that includes my plane!)

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