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June 24, 2011 / V A Nichols

More propaganda, regarding geese, from Birmingham airport

As the anniversary of the killing of Canada & domestic  geese at East Lake and Avondale Park in June 2011 approaches……we want to know: will  Wildlife Services kill geese again in 2012???
Please see Marion’s comments below!
V A Nichols
Birmingham airport permanently removes 200 geese from nearby parks
Submitted by Melynda Sides, Fox 6 Community Web Producer
Friday, June 24th, 4:54 pm
Birmingham airport permanently removes 200 geese from nearby parks

In an effort to keep the airways safe for travelers, the Birmingham Airport Authority had more than 200 geese permanently removed from two nearby parks. The geese were removed in a humane manner and the processed meat from the birds will be donated to the United Way Community Food Bank, said Toni Herrera-Bast, a spokesperson for the BAA.

“It is a priority to provide a safe and secure facility for our valued travelers that use Birmingham‐Shuttlesworth International Airport,” said Herrera-Bast. “The goose removal was carried out humanely and in compliance with all federal, state and local rules.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture rounded up 113 Canadian geese, 131 domestic geese and three Muscovy ducks during the early evening and morning hours when the parks were not open yet to the public. The airport has a policy of “zero tolerance of Canada geese” near the airport to help reduce the risk of geese colliding with aircraft.

Geese are among the wildlife considered to be hazardous to air carrier operations. The problem with Canadian geese made the headlines when a flock of geese caused the emergency landing of an airplane into the Hudson River in 2009.

Birmingham’s geese removal process is a part of the airport’s Wildlife Management Program. The Federal Aviation Administration requires all airports with a nearby wildlife presence to eliminate hazardous wildlife from the area.

Methods to keep wildlife away include planting a special kind of grass that repels Canada geese and other species of birds; no-feeding policies for wildlife; applications of taste repellents; propane tanks and foggers to disperse roosting birds; and the removal of trash and other debris on airport property.

Topics: News, Transportation, Urban Wildlife



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  1. Marion / Jun 5 2012 5:20 PM

    IT IS A CLEAR CONFLICT OF INTEREST FOR THE USDA WS to be assessing wildlife hazards at airports when they make their money killing animals. Look at Dallas Forth Worth in Texas…after a major bird strike there they felt it important to have an independent assessment. Anyone with a functioning brain can see killing the geese last year did zilch for air safety and the only thing accomplished was a few more dollars in WS’s coffers.

    Dallas Fort Worth used an independent company called Geo Marine to assess wildlife hazards after a major bird strike there. DFW states:
    (1). consultants are viewed as OBJECTIVE OBSERVERS WITH NO TIES to either airport/airfield administrators or wildlife control personnel and
    (2) because of this objectivity, consultants can be brutally honest with all parties – and honesty fosters safer airfields. ”

    The USDA is judge, juror, and benefactor in Birmingham…just like NYC…but not everywhere and it is only where the USDA has all that power that geese are being rounded up and gassed. They are a cash cow.

  2. Arlene Steinberg / Jun 3 2012 5:25 PM

    Flight 1549, the “Miracle on the Hudson” was well-documented in aviation journals as having numerous mechanical failures, including the flight directly prior to ditching in the Hudson. The only miracle there is that the plane didn’t crash on any previous flight and kill everyone on board. The problem was not the 2 migratory geese that got sucked into the engine but the fact that the plane already had trouble. It is just easier to blame it on geese than for the FAA to account for why that plane was even in the air.

    Lets look at the FAA warnings about airbus A320’s – which Flight 1549 was- and the many incidents involving airbus A320’s (645 people killed in airbus A320’s – none of them involving Canada geese; maybe people want to get some sanity into their perspective about flight risks!)

    Warning issued to airlines flying Airbuses The Dominion Post

    An emergency safety directive has been issued to airlines using
    twin-engine Airbus A320s after both engines on one stalled over the
    Mediterranean, just 18 days after an Air New Zealand A320 crashed
    killing all seven on board.

    The following are either fatal events involving at least one passenger death or significant safety occurrences involving the A320.

    26 June 1988; Air France A320; Flight 296Q; near Mulhouse-Habsheim Airport, France: The aircraft crashed into trees during an air show maneuver when the aircraft failed to gain height during a low pass with the gear extended. THREE OF THE 136 PASSENGERS WERE KILLED.

    14 February 1990; Indian Airlines A320; Flight 605; Bangalore, India:
    Controlled flight into terrain during approach. Aircraft hit about 400

    20 January 1992; Air Inter A320; Flight 148; near Strasbourg, France:
    Aircraft had a controlled flight into terrain after the flight crew incorrectly set the flight management system. FIVE OF THE SIX CREW AND 82 OF THE 87 PASSENGERS PERISHED.

    14 September 1993; Lufthansa A320-200; Flight 2904; Warsaw Airport, Poland: Aircraft landed with a tail wind. Landing performance and aircraft
    design led to a late deployment of braking devices. Aircraft overran the runway. ONE OF THE 6 CREW AND 1 OF THE 64 PASSENGERS WERE KILLED.

    23 August 2000; Gulf Air A320; Flight 072; Near Manama, Bahrain:
    The aircraft was making a third attempt to land at the Bahrain International Airport after a flight from Cairo when the aircraft crashed into the sea about three miles (4.8 km) from the airport. ALL EIGHT CREW MEMBERS AND 135 PASSENGERS WERE KILLED.

    3 May 2006; Armavia Airlines A320; near Sochi, Russia: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Yerevan, Armenia to Sochi. At the time of the crash, visibility was limited due to darkness, a low overcast cloud layer, and light rain showers. The crew reportedly abandoned the first landing attempt due to the weather conditions. While the crew was maneuvering for a second landing attempt on a different runway, the aircraft crashed into the Black Sea about 6 km (3.8 miles) from the airport. ALL EIGHT CREW MEMBERS AND 105 PASSENGERS WERE KILLED.

    17 July 2007; TAM Linhas Aéreas A320-200; Flight 3054; São Paulo, Brazil:
    The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Porto Alegre (POA)
    to the Congohas Airport in São Paulo (CGH). According to the airline, one of the two thrust reversers had been deactivated prior to the flight. The aircraft landed at a higher than normal speed and departed the runway. After the aircraft crossed a major road to the left of the runway, it crashed into a concrete building and caught fire. ALL SIX CREW MEMBERS AND 181 PASSENGERS WERE KILLED AS WELL AS SEVERAL PEOPLE ON THE GROUND.

    30 May 2008; TACA A320-200; Flight 390; Tegucigalpa, Honduras:
    The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from San Salvador, El Salvador, to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The aircraft landed, overran the runway, went down an embankment, and struck several vehicles. ONE OF THE SIX CREW MEMBERS AND TWO OF THE 118 PASSENGERS WERE KILLED. TWO PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE AIRCRAFT WERE ALSO KILLED.

    OVER 645 PEOPLE KILLED IN AIRBUS A320 INCIDENTS; FLIGHT 1549, ALSO AN AIRBUS A320, also experienced problems two days before running into MIGRANT GEESE FROM LABRADOR, CANADA. I suggest people worried about aviation safety focus on the airlines if they are concerned about safety….running into a Canada goose is a freak accident and killing all the geese to improve aviation safety is a total farce given the accident stats.

    • V A Nichols / Jun 3 2012 6:40 PM

      This just mind-blowing! Such great information :)

      Victoria ~

      • Arlene Steinberg / Jun 3 2012 7:19 PM

        I must credit Marion (the commentator from Canada) with providing the Airbus info. She is a tireless, thorough and intelligent researcher and writer for the geese. She is a wonderful source for virtually any detail you want to know.

    • Marion / Jun 5 2012 5:27 PM

      I always like to point out that the engines of Flight 1549 did not meet the current bird strike standards of 2007….they were 1996 standard engines. But for some reason they were not obligated to meet current standards and no doubt these planes continue to fly….

      Nasa Case Studies in System Failure:

      “To pass the tests, the engines were required to remain operational at 75% power for more
      than five minutes after the bird ingestion. In 1996, the engines that would later be used on U.S. Airways Flight 1549 were certificated for bird ingestion according to these standards. In 2007, the FAA adopted new regulations regarding bird strikes, and the new rules increased the size of the birds used in the core tests to 5½ pounds. However, engines certificated prior to 2007 were not obliged to meet the new requirements.”

      There is so much the USDA does not tell the general public and what they don’t tell is more important than the selected tidbits they use for killing propaganda.

  3. Arlene Steinberg / Jun 3 2012 5:19 PM

    DISGRACEFUL, disgusting and obscene. Humanely removed?? Did they take them to Disneyworld? No, they KILLED them, by gas, and that’s in no way humane. And eased their consciences by telling people they donated them for food. Interesting way to ease your guilt over killing something that shouldn’t be killed in the first place. You cannot do an evil and wrong thing to a helpless and harmless group of birds and their babies and try to turn it into a good deed. The Nazis gave the German citizens the eyeglasses of the Jews they gassed – did that make them charitable? Hardly. What most places won’t tell you is they may TRY to donate dead geese, but most soup kitchens and homeless agencies won’t take them because of pesticide contamination from grass the geese eat. To dump this on a group of people whose health is already compromised by poverty is unconscionable. And the babies don’t have enough meat on them, so they are simply thrown into landfills.

    There are goose management companies that effectively and successfully reduce the population of geese without killing them. This is far more successful in the long run because they are addressing the reason geese are attracted to a given area. Killing only ensures that you will consistently have to kill every year. And that is a colossal waste of taxpayer funds.

    With the recent 3-part article in the Sacramento Bee on the USDA and their killing arm, Wildlife Services (an innocuous name for a horrendous agency) and the resulting outcry, including a call by congress for a Congressional investigation into this agency’s appalling abuse of animals and misuse of taxpayer money, it is incredible that any township would consider using this group of thugs when local goose management would be not only more effective, humane and better for the economy.

    The real bottom line is, killing birds isn’t going to make the skies safer for anyone. The real problem needs to be addressed by better technology (bird-detecting radar which exists but is under-utilized) and better pilot training. Bird strikes only account of less than 1% of air incidents, and geese account for the least of all birds hitting places. And they are NEVER resident geese, which don’t really fly high or far. Contrast that with the fact that pilot error and mechanical failure accounts for 45% of air incidents, including all crashes. The vast majority, with extremely few exceptions, of bird strikes are fatal only to the bird.

    There’s a stupid way to solve a problem and an intelligent way. Killing always falls on the side of stupid.

    • V A Nichols / Jun 3 2012 6:37 PM

      Welcome Arlene!

      Thank you so much for your comments!

      Last year, when they tried to give the meat from the geese to the local United Way organization, they refused it saying it was too fatty to be healthy! So the airport’s efforts to diminish their cruelty backfired.

      Are you in the US? I found you on Facebook, and saw a reference to contacting Senators. This is not especially important, I just like to know in general where people are located :)

      Please continue to participate in the discussion. Your input is vitally important!

      Victoria ~

      • Arlene Steinberg / Jun 3 2012 7:22 PM

        I got your friend request on Facebook, so we are now connected. I’m in Philadelphia, but like many of us working on behalf of this effort, connect with goose groups and people anywhere there is a problem to share information and connect to help. It’s basically all the same issue.

      • Arlene Steinberg / Jun 3 2012 7:27 PM

        Victoria – do you know Mary Lou Simms? She put up a petition for this issue, and is a journalist who is writing about the geese and actively jelping them. I believe she is local, too.

      • V A Nichols / Jun 3 2012 8:13 PM

        Thank you for connecting with me on Facebook, Arlene :)

        I have had some email communication with Mary Lou recently, and was made aware of her last year when she wrote the article about taxpayers paying for the killings.
        She is in metropolitan Birmingham although not close to East Lake Park (one of the parks involved), which is 5 minutes from my home.

        I am, now, trying to network the petition :)


  4. Marion / Jun 3 2012 1:52 PM

    This is another informative article …from the International Bird Strike’s from 2003 but shows the FAA was clearly more interested in protecting airlines than worrying about collecting useful bird strike data that might have helped them come up with useful wildlife management techniques. Sorry I can’t copy and paste but it shows this:

    #4 shows shows the FAA and USDA have an interagency agreement…the FAA Bird Strike Data Base is maintained by the USDA Wildlife Services…and they weren’t interested in maintaining it very well. Well..why should they be when they can just get paid to go out and kill wildlife??

    Only a fraction of bird strikes were reported – as it was voluntary reporting – only 4% of those reported contained any useful information. Most reports did not even name the type of bird involved…even when it involved a fatal crash.

    In 2003 the FAA declined to take action on the recommendation to make reporting mandatory…and they have still declined in 2012.

    • V A Nichols / Jun 3 2012 2:08 PM

      Marion, thanks so much for all the information and links to reports, etc.! I’m looking into a FOIA request. Please continue to share anything that you think will better educate those of us that care about wildlife in Birmingham!

      Victoria ~

  5. Marion / Jun 3 2012 11:52 AM

    Here is a very interesting article…it describes how important reporting bird strikes is to implementing an good wildlife management plan for airports. Yet despite its importance…….the FAA still has not even made bird strike reporting mandatory. Wildlife management is not, or not supposed to be, as mickey mouse as killing all the wildlife and certainly not away from the immediate airport environment. The FAA is not God incarnate….they have their interests to protect and this is a great example.

    “FAA still not budging on mandatory bird strike reports by Nolan Peterson May 10, 2012.”

    “While the FAA has not endorsed mandatory reporting, the administration has adopted another one of the NTSB’s key recommendations – mandatory wildlife hazard assessments and wildlife hazard plans for all certificated airports – THESE PROGRAMS HOWEVER ALSO DEPEND ON ACCURATE bird strike data to be effective.”

    By the way…that article is from Chicago…they don’t round up birds either.

  6. Marion / Jun 3 2012 11:39 AM

    Thankyou V A Nichols,

    I live in Canada and am not that familiar with your media outlets and newspapers. I do love Canada geese with a passion, have done a lot of research, and do know most major airports – such as mine in Vancouver, BC, Canada – do not go into urban parks and round up Canada geese – and this just a money grab for someone…like the USDA WS.

    I think you should be able to get a copy of BAA’s contract with WS by filing a Freedom of Information Request.

    They should also reveal what kind of wildlife hazards assessment they have done that they think supports killing birds in an urban park….the birds are only gone as long as it takes live birds to regain their flight feathers after molting, see that empty space and fly in. I have not found anything in any FAA document that says birds away from the airport need to be exterminated…if that was so all airports would do it…but very few do. So what is with these few airports????

    Killing birds in an urban park does not accomplish anything. And what does the mayor and city council have to say…anything??

    Bird strikes happen and will happen as long as there are birds to fly or until the aviation industry comes up with something intelligent to prevent them. Vancouver airport had 217 strikes in 2010; they happen all the time. But they are the least hazard related to flying – as long as 99.9% of crashes continue to be caused by other things – such as pilot error, weather, mechanical failure, and sabotage nobody has any right to kill birds using the propaganda it will ‘keep planes safe for people’. That’s a ridiculous statement. It’s like worrying about the mosquito when the elephant is about to step on you!!

    The ‘goose removal’ is hardly carried out humanely. The goose parents and their goslings are terrified – of course – they are just stuffed into crates and driven off to be stuffed into gas chambers and since geese can hold their breath a long time it can take over half an hour for them to strangle on carbon dioxide. Imagine being a devoted protective parent like a Canada goose and you will fight anything for your babies…but they can’t do anything when they are surrounded by the USDA THUGS and rounded up.

  7. Marion / Jun 2 2012 1:21 PM

    I want to point out something else….the same FAA document in the link above contains this Memorandum of Agreement…… starts out with a blatant lie in the very first paragraph

    “Aircraft-wildlife strikes are the second leading causes of aviation-related fatalities.”

    ……this is a patent, blatant LIE. Wildlife strikes are so rarely the cause of a fatal plane crash they do not even have their own category.

    Memorandum of Agreement Between the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to Address Aircraft-Wildlife Strikes


    Aircraft-wildlife strikes are the second leading causes of aviation-related fatalities.

    Birmingham should be kicking the USDA WS away from their airport and should have their own team, TOTALLY INDEPENDENT from the USDA doing wildlife risk assessments.

  8. Marion / Jun 2 2012 1:12 PM

    I know this comment is late but I am going to try to make it anyhow.

    “The Federal Aviation Administration requires all airports with a nearby wildlife presence to eliminate hazardous wildlife from the area.”

    There is NOTHING in the FAA document to support eliminating wildlife ‘from the area’. They are playing fast and loose with words here. The FAA might support killing wildlife on immediate airport property – but there is nothing that supports simply rounding up and killing birds off airport property.

    The FAA also seems to indicate that a wildlife hazards assessment be done – and I don’t see anything in the article that says anything about a hazards assessment that would show the geese, including domestic geese – living in parks off the airport were such a threat to safety they should be killed. I don’t see any bird strike stats for the Birmingham airport.

    It is also interesting I see a clear conflict of interest here….

    “WS receives a limited amount of funds from the general fund of the U.S. Treasury that allows it to perform some services for the public good.

    HOWEVER WS’s funding is also based upon its ability to enter into contracts to provide services and receive reimbursement for the cost of the services. Legislation allows WS to collect this money and return it to the program rather than the general funds of the U.S. Treasury. Consequently, WS may enter into a cooperative service agreement with an airport operator for reimbursement of services to perform a wildlife hazard assessment on an airport.”

    ……so you have the USDA WS in an agreement to perform the ‘wildlife hazard assessment’ as well as get paid to round up and kill the ‘hazards’.

    I don’t believe resident geese living in parks are a threat to planes in Birmingham nor do I believe there are legitimate risk assessments to support their killing program. They haven’t even provided bird strike data. This is just a very easy money grab by the ever lethal USDA WS.

    • V A Nichols / Jun 2 2012 9:38 PM

      Marion :) Great investigation and comments!!! Wish we could get a copy of the Birmingham airport’s contract with WS.

      Have you thought about writing a letter to the editor of the Birmingham News about this? Or Weld or Magic City Post?

      V A ~

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