Planet Earth

Sudden Impact

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorOct 7, 2010 12:15 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

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!)

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2022 Kalmbach Media Co.