Round the clock, D/FW International Airport employees are scouring the grounds looking for dangerous intruders. Not human terrorists. Those with feathers.
Story on KERA radio
One recent morning, Larry Creel, an airfield operations employee, spots a potential problem, and alerts Cathy Boyles, D/FW’s wildlife biologist.
“We had a multiple bird strike on (runway) 36 right. Six pigeons,” Creel reports.
This bird strike, like most other strikes, caused little or no damage to the plane. The half-dozen pigeons weren’t so lucky, though. The big concern is that the remaining flock will settle near another flight path.
“What we’re in the process of doing is moving one cannon from the north down to the south,” Creel says.
Boyles hops into a vehicle, radios her team, and heads toward runway 36 right. She wants to take a look at removing vegetation that may have attracted the birds.
She’s glad to see the propane cannon that's been deployed -- a noise maker -- has caused the pigeons to move. It’s a cylinder that sits on the ground. When a small amount of propane gas is fed into the tube and ignited, it creates an explosive sound that’s blown out of the barrel’s open end.
“It startles them; makes them feel uncomfortable staying here so they’ll move somewhere else,” Boyles explains.
Coyote and deer, too
Boyles’ job is to keep birds and other wildlife -- the occasional coyote or deer -- away from aircraft.