Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

September 1970


In New England, and along the stretch of coastline which starts just south of Canada and goes down through New Jersey, we have half a dozen major or what we call international airports. All but two have bird problems. Most of these airports were built on submarginal land, but what was perhaps some of the best wildlife habitat in the country. So, the birds were there first. When these airports were built, airlines were flying propeller-type aircraft. This type was slow and sluggish compared to the jet aircraft of today. Even though aircraft speeds have increased, the birds still are using their habitual flight paths and feeding in the marshes and mud flats. But, they just cannot move fast enough to get away from these airplanes. So, perhaps this is how a lot of the incidents started. Prior to 1960, the office out of which I then worked was not too deeply in¬volved with bird problems at airports. We had a few static problems like maintenance hangars, shops, and things of this nature--but we had not become involved in any major bird-aircraft hazard situations. In 1960, however, 60 people did not survive a plane crash in the Boston Harbor. So, all of a sudden we were involved clear up to our necks. And believe me, we didn't know exactly what to do! A mad scramble took place and a lot of "specialists" were put on the problem. Immediately a set of recommendations were drawn up and put into use. A lot of quick mowing was done and various scaring devices, such as noise-makers, were put into use. This resulted in a major drop in bird numbers at the airport. And since that time, there has not been a major crash at the Logan International Airport at Boston, Massachusetts.