Preventing Bird Collisions With Airplanes


April 24, 2012: A Canada goose struck by a JetBlue plane that made an emergency landing at the Westchester County Airport in Purchase, N.Y. (AP/The Journal News)

Problems from Bird Strikes

January, 2009:   Capt. Chesley Sullenberger ditches Flight 1549 in the Hudson River after colliding with a flock of geese following takeoff from LaGuardia Airport in New York.

April 24 , 2012:  A JetBlue plane bound for West Palm Beach, Fla., makes an emergency landing at Westchester Coumty Airport north of New York City after a bird strike on the windshield of the aircraft.

Unfortunately the knee-jerk reaction to this sort of issue is to…yes, to kill more birds. There are more sensible, cost effective, and humane solutions.

Airborne bird-detecting radar systems and research into avian perception and aircraft illumination are a start, but on the ground, eradication (gassing and shooting) are often advocated, as in this recent Los Angeles Times article.

The Solution to Birdstrikes

FlightTurf™ is a turfgrass technology I developed as a extension of my work with Native Return, a company which I founded to convince others to share their land with wildlife. In applications where the mutual well-being of both wildlife and human populations are at  risk, it is more appropriate to plant vegetative cover unattractive to wildlife so they are deterred from unsafe areas.

New installation of FlightTurf™

How is this done?  I developed  this product by completely upending the building blocks of conservation and my work  which advocates for native species.   It was of utmost importance to think outside the box, and my understanding of the ecology of habitats and the evolution of each species in it gave me the information  needed to design menus which stand outside the foodchain, do not attract local wildlife, and discourage grazing by its biological unsuitability.  My committment to habitat and wildlife continues in my work converting traditional lawns to native-species meadows.

FlightTurf™ reduces maintenance

My patent-pending FlightTurf™  does not contain invasive grass species,  cuts mowing and maintenance costs because it requires just one mow per year, and is no threat to habitats beyond the scope of its use.   This lowers equipment emissions, minimizes runway closures, keeping the balance in favor of ecology and efficiency.

This turf can be used in many applications, highway roadside swaths where deer graze, state, county and city parks where flock fecal matter is a health issue, schools, colleges,  commercial and industrial parks.  In all cases, not only are wildlife discouraged, but property maintenance costs are reduced.

Learn more about the many benefits of my “grass roots” turf conversion installations and about my work maintaining a healthy balance between wild and human populations .

© 2012, Christina Kobland. All rights reserved. This article is the property of Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens. We have received many requests to reprint our work. Our policy is that you are free to use a short excerpt which must give proper credit to the author, and must include a link back to the original post on our site. Please use the contact form above if you have any questions.

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