U.S. Court Upholds Airports’ Right to Kill Birds
U.S. Court Upholds Airports’ Right to Legally Kill Snowy Owls and Other Birds
by Xander Zellner
January 29, 2016
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey now has the legal right to kill almost any bird on its property—as long as they declare it an emergency.
The only birds that are exempt are Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, and other endangered or threatened species.
So does this mean Snowy Owls and other favorite species have to learn to steer clear of these properties? Maybe not. Susan Elbin, director of conservation and science at New York City Audubon, says that despite the court's ruling, she's confident the Port Authority will try to avoid killing birds. "I know for a fact that they'll only use lethal control as a last resort. They spend days and days meeting about this subject and catching these birds," she says. In fact, the Port Authority often consults with NYC Audubon about methods for handling wildlife. "It’s unfortunate when wildlife and humans come into this conflict situation where they’re trying to share space—and that’s often what happens with airports—but I know that the Port Authority is doing their best to trap and relocate them."
I hope Susan’s confidence doesn’t become compromised. Airplane safety should be the paramount concern, but we all know it’s cheaper and easier to shoot birds than to pay for what it takes to capture and relocate them.