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Bird-Plane Collisions May Pass 10,000

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This month marks the one-year anniversary of the US Airways’ miracle landing in New York on the Hudson River. Veteran pilot Captain Sully is a full-fledged national hero, and the incident in which all 155 passengers survived is a now fuzzy memory. But, the cause of the crash—Canada geese in the plane’s engine—has not gone away.

A new government report claims that the tally of bird-plane collisions (or "bird strikes") could reach as high as 10,000 for the first time ever. Some incidents caused serious damage, even death. And annual damages in the U.S. alone have been estimated at over $400 million.

There are several reasons for the increase: migratory birds populations are on the in rise, and airlines and airports doing a better job of reporting.

Richard Dolbeer, an expert on bird-plane collisions who is advising the FAA, summed up the problem: "Birds and planes are fighting for airspace, and it's getting increasingly crowded."

And there's no sure-fire solution. Some airports, like Zurich’s, actually employ hunters to deal with the problem. And Amsterdam’s Schiphol has even tested a robotic hawk to scare off birds. Other airports are ridding surrounding areas of bird-friendly vegetation, while others still are using Border Collies to help airlines win games of Duck Duck Goose.

Photo courtesy of iStock.

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