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News Wildlife Damage

January 2, 2012 by staff 

News Wildlife Damage, Saturday’s bird strike at Portland International Airport that forced a Southwest Airlines plane to land just after takeoff was the first and only bird strike to damage a plane in 2011.

That’s not just good luck.

Scientists and aviation experts work around the clock coming up with ways to keep birds away.

Aviation Wildlife Manager Nick Atwell says it’s the things you don’t hear and may not see that can really make a big difference.

“We take it seriously here,” said Atwell. “That’s why we have a full time staff dedicated to this. So we do everything we can to mitigate this to make sure these incidents don’t happen as often.”

In order to damage a plane, a bird would have to hit either the engine or windshield, Atwell said. Those are small targets to hit, considering the surface area of a plane.

Saturday, the plane struck one or several gulls, damaging the right engine and left wing, according to Port of Portland spokeswoman Kama Simonds. The plane was able to land and taxi back to the gate safely. No injuries were reported.

Atwell says landscaping tricks can discourage certain birds from showing up. That’s why you won’t see any ponds.

“Geese love open areas but when you break it up with visual barriers they choose to go elsewhere.”

Atwell says there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, but his team works on it year-round.

“They’re here sun-up, sun-down 7 days a week. It doesn’t matter if it’s a holiday.”

Report to Team

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