Bird-plane collision risks prompt USDA to poison thousands of birds

Legal News for Pennsylvania Social Responsibility Attorneys. Thousands of birds to be poisoned by USDA officials to reduce bird-plane collision hazard.

Collision hazard between planes and European starlings prompt USDA officials to poison birds.

Benner Township, PA—Federal officials from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) http://www.usda.gov have allegedly planned the extermination of approximately 15,000 European starlings in an attempt to prevent dangerous bird-plane collisions near the University Park Airport in Pennsylvania. It was reported that the USDA would poison approximately 90 percent of the starling flock, which contains about 15,000 to 20,000 birds, on a single day within the next two weeks, according to information provided by CentreDaily.com.

In an August 19, 2006 incident, a commercial aircraft departing from University Park Airport hit a flock of European starlings, causing “substantial” damage to one of the jet engines. Though thankfully, the aircraft returned to the airport safely. The incident prompted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) http://www.faa.gov, to have the airport conduct a wildlife hazard assessment. The USDA subsequently sent out a “Notice of Pesticide Application” to municipal officials in Ferguson, College, Patton, and Benner townships after a huge flock of starlings were found in the area. These identical letters, sent out on January 7, 2010, allegedly state that the bird poisoning will take place to prevent a “catastrophic bird strike”.

USDA officials that have been trained in bird control are reportedly the only ones authorized to use the DRC-1339, “restricted use pesticide”. A USDA spokesperson allegedly stated that the pesticide will only kill blackbirds, cowbirds, grackles, and starlings pending a 1 to 3-day period in which the birds will begin to “feel bad and go in various directions to roost”. The bird poisoning will reportedly take place on a cold day at a farm in one of the townships involved, which has not been disclosed due to federal law. Residents in the townships listed have been urged to keep children and pets away from any deceased birds found after the poisoning though the pesticide, which has been used by USDA officials for 25 years, and will not kill anything besides the birds already listed. Residents may call the USDA wildlife service state office at 717-236-9451 if assistance is needed regarding birds that may be found on property after the pesticide has been administered to these birds through “pre-baited” agricultural seeds.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan- Legal News for Pennsylvania Social Responsibility Lawyers.

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