What’s for dinner? NYC airport geese soon to be served on a platter

Take a gander at this: In an effort to control airport bird population, New York City plans to start collecting unwanted geese and ship them off to Pennsylvania, where they will be cooked for meals.

But before you get your feathers in a ruffle, know that the plan will actually benefit those in need. The birds, which were previously rounded up and gassed, will be donated to food banks to help feed hungry Pennsylvanians. Apparently, the birds will be shipped out of state because New York has not established safety protocols for processing and consuming wild goose meat.

The Department of Environmental Protection calls the roundup of geese a “sensitive topic,” but is in favor of the plan. We’ll just have to wait and see what all the animal activists have to say about it. Last summer, there was a huge public outcry over the roundup of hundreds of geese in Prospect Park, Brooklyn in the name of airline safety. The topic has been a huge issue since January 2009, when a flock of geese disabled US Airways Flight 1549, forcing it to ditch in the Hudson River.

[Photo by Dendroica Cerulea, Flickr]

Video: Geese running down street

I don’t think about geese more than I think about most other creatures. I admire them when I see them, but I’m used to seeing them in their natural environment. If I, hypothetically speaking, walked out of my front door and saw a parade of geese coming down my street here in Austin… well… I’d hope I’d have my video camera poised and ready for a moment like that. Because this guy was.

This YouTube user didn’t have to do much traveling to see a parade of geese–they came to him. Or, rather, they came to his street. Check out this short but entertaining video featuring running geese. After researching for a while now, I can’t find a hard fact explaining why these geese were running. My guess is that this video was staged. If you know why these geese were running, or if you have a guess, please share it with us here in the comments..

NYC pulls trigger on mass execution of geese

For the past several weeks, the last thing you’d want to be is a goose in New York City. Hundreds of them have been “euthanized,” in an attempt to keep the skies safe. You may remember the impact that geese can have on a plane from a year and a half ago, when an unlucky bird forced a US Airways plane out of the sky and onto the Hudson River.

According to the Associated Press:

Carol Bannerman, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services, said Monday the department was asked to remove Canada geese from more than a dozen locations within seven miles of city airports.

In Brooklyn‘s Prospect Park, for example, around 400 geese were rounded up and killed using carbon dioxide – “because they are a risk to planes,” the article continues. Last summer, the body count hit 1,200, which is what it’s expected to reach this year.

[photo by mikebaird via Flickr]

Can flying geese offer cheaper airfare?

The way birds migrate has inspired a discovery of how to reduce the amount of jet fuel planes use.

The characteristic V formation that many species take when migrating long distances produces an effect called updraft. The air is pushed down by the bird ahead in formation, making it easier for the bird behind to create enough lift to keep going.

A team at Stanford University led by Professor Ilan Kroo suggests that airplanes do the same. The first jet in the V would essentially clear the way for easier flying for those behind.

This research isn’t new. Back in 1914 the German scientist Carl Wieselsberger first calculated the effects of updraft.

A French team studying pelicans found that flying in formation helped flocks fly 70% further than birds flying alone.

The Stanford team ran a simulation of three passenger jets leaving Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and San Francisco rendezvousing over Utah before continuing on to the East Coast. They found the planes would use 15% less fuel, cutting the airlines’ major expense and carbon output in the process.

So will Ryanair slash rates even more by having their jets fly in formation to cheap holiday destinations, passing the savings to us along with cups full of ice water minus the water? Probably not. All the world’s flight paths would have to be rearranged, costing a huge amount and inevitably leading to some embarrassing near disaster. It is a cool idea, though.

Just a thought–I’d always heard that the V formation was all about dominance in the flock, with the strongest birds being closer to the front. Perhaps the reason the strongest go in front is to make it easier for the weaker ones. Having the leaders prove their strength actually helps the whole flock migrate.

New York to gas 2,000 geese to prevent another Hudson river incident

Ah geese… They look so peaceful making their way through your local pond or river, but we all know what can happen when they decide to fly to a different pond or river.

After the bird strike of January 15th (really? That long ago?), there has been growing pressure to do something about the large number of Canada Geese around the local airports.

The solution is pretty macabre – authorities will gas them. The extermination will begin in about a week, during the period when the geese shed their feathers preventing them from flying.

A total of 2000 geese are expected to be removed from a 5 mile radius around LaGuardia and Kennedy.

It make me shiver, but then again, so does the thought of sucking a flock of geese into the engine of my plane.