Cheney and Air Force 2: Bird Woes

Where have I been? I wonder if The Daily Show with Jon Stewart heard about this. It would be a pretty good tale to tell on Comedy Central. Last Friday, April 13, Air Force Two with Dick Cheney on board creamed a bird outside Chicago. Bam! Pulverized! The bird was blown to smithereens! What’s with that guy and birds? Turns out, taking out birds during air travel is common. Take offs and landings are the largest culprits. Cheney’s plane was heading to O’Hare International Airport. Generally, if a plane hits a bird it’s not that bad—for the plane. The multiple engines help prevent a crisis—for the passengers.

What are the numbers? According to “Death by Bird” on a Web site devoted to military strategies, military planes in the U.S. cause the demise of about 5,000 birds a year. Commercial and private airlines knock-off 140 to 150 percent more. I have no idea where these numbers are from, but it sounds plausible. There’s a PDF file from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services that reports cars kill 60 million birds a year in the U.S. and private and commercial aircraft kill far fewer. Even a million seems startling. Where do all the dead birds end up? I would think there’d at least be more stray feathers floating around from all the in-flight collisions.