Dec 16, 2013

NY & beyond: At least 3 Snowy Owls Shot Dead At JFK Airport before Extermination Program Halted

Snowy Owl Shootings Cease (Audubon Magazine)
The Port Authority of New York ceased their extermination program in regard to snowy owls at JFK, Newark NJ, and LaGuardia upon complaints from the public (a petition is over 11,000 strong now even though the program was stopped after 3,000 people signed). At least three owls were killed on Dec 7, 2013 at JFK Airport by five "wildlife specialists" using rifles. Suddenly thousands of people signed a petition in outrage. The program was then halted.

Even "hunters" don't shoot snowy owls.

It is very odd that instead of saying planes struck owls, some media people write that five planes were struck by owls at three NY city area airports (see Huffington Post article, for example: 2 Snowy Owls Shot At Airport, As Birds Deemed Danger To Planes.

Some of the owls in NY may be from Quebec where the species is the provincial bird! Many are juveniles who were just born this year.

 Per Audubon Magazine:
When news broke of the owl killings at JFK, Devin Heffron, a landscape architect and birder in Middlesex, Massachusetts quickly created a petition on calling for New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to ceasefire. The petition noted that wildlife managers working with Boston's Logan International have successfully trapped and released snowy owls for more than 30 years. "The practice of shooting these animals is barbaric and unnecessary," the petition stated. Three thousand people signed on that day, and by evening the Port Authority released a statement saying it would switch to a more humane solution.
Owl advocates are continuing to pressure the Port Authority to keep its word. As of today, 6,000 more people have added their names to the petition, showing that owl supporters-- like the owls--are strong in numbers this year.

Some media people also don't know the difference between nesting and perching."The snowy owl — widely familiar to children as Hedwig, the beloved pet of boy wizard Harry Potter — was added to the kill list after one of them, nesting on top of a taxiway sign on an airport runway and got sucked into an airplane turbine...Read more "

 If there is relocation, it shouldn't be to so-called sanctuaries, in my opinion. The birds need to migrate and be wild. Logan Airport in Boston has had such a program to relocate snowy owls since 1981. It would be feasible to relocate them to wild places around NY from which they can still travel "internationally" according to their own will. Flights of humans could also be curtailed for a long list of environmental reasons and the prices of air travel for humans could accordingly be increased. The wild cycle of human population ("The Dominant Animal") has created an increasing strain on the planet, to put it mildly. Elders are leaving a battered gasping planet for their grandchildren.

Contrails from airplanes may deplete the ozone layer and contribute to global warming which impacts wildlife cycles and sustainability. NY City area airplane flights are more examples of humans - not birds - "shooting themselves in the foot" in this case by harming the atmosphere - and therefore people! For Government discussion of the topic see: NASA - Safeguarding Our Atmosphere

Aububon has described the uptick in snowy owl presence this year. Not just Harry Potter aficionados, but birders and non-birders alike are aflutter:

See NY Daily News article (and more at Google search) to read further about the killing of snowy owls at NY airports.

The petition initiated by former New Yorker Devin Hefferon has several interesting comments and links including to the appearance on the Today show. Although some snowy owls were killed, at least due to his quick and effective action on countless others escaped death by sharpshooter.

Please Subscribe to this blog by Email, View in your Reader or NetworkedBlogs, Like my Page, or Follow