Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Dove Versus Goose

This article from Newsweek focuses on Dr. Carla Dove and the work she does at the Smithsonian Institution’s Feather Identification Lab—literally an ornithological forensics laboratory—in helping to identify the remains of birds that collide with commercial and military aircraft. An excellent video is included.

Unfortunately, this continues to be reported more as a bird issue (i.e., birds colliding with aircraft) than an aircraft issue (i.e., aircraft colliding with birds). Birds are always depicted as the culprits, even though they have been using the airways far longer than have humans and their aircraft. For example, the author of this article leaves the reader with this take-home message:
recent studies suggest that many of the most hazardous [bird] species are increasing in population size and seem to be growing accustomed to noise generated by humans and their machines.
What about increases in the size of aircraft (equals greater monetary damage if struck, and potentially greater loss of human lives) and in the volume of airline traffic? Why are these factors never mentioned? Is it possibly because the airlines/aircraft industries don’t want to shouldered with any of the blame?

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