Today’s news:

Canada geese draw ire over suspected role in Flight 1549 crash

Canada geese have certainly been getting their 15 minutes of fame following the emergency landing of Flight 1549 on the Hudson last week after it took off from LaGuardia Airport, where birds congregate nearby in Flushing Bay.

A flock of Canada geese that hit the plane may have caused both of the plane’s engines to lose power, forcing Capt. Chesley Sullenberger to land on the Hudson River. Co−pilot Jeff Skiles told the National Transportation Safety Board that he saw the geese outside the plane and the pilot saw his window covered with large, dark brown birds, the Associated Press reported.

“Geese are the enemy of all New Yorkers right now,” said Bayside resident Thomas Murphy. “What should we do with them? Get rid of them. Somehow, get rid of them. Nobody would mind if we killed all of them.”

But Craig Gibbs, assistant curator of animals at the Queens Zoo, said while Canada geese can be a nuisance, they are not attracted to planes.

“If they’re found anywhere near airports, it’s because there must be an open food source,” Gibbs said.

The Canada goose population has been on the rise, especially during the winter time, in the area, Gibbs said. The geese that once would migrate south in the winter now remain in the area year round.

Canada geese typically fly in flocks, numbering from two to more than 40, and they can be 25 inches to 45 inches in length with a wingspan of 2 to 3 feet, Gibbs said. They typically fly in a V−formation.

Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman said the Port Authority carefully monitors wildlife surrounding LaGuardia, Kennedy Airport and Newark Airport.

“The Port Authority’s program contains several components, including controlling bird populations, shooting and trapping birds and managing bird habitats,” according to a statement from the Port Authority. “Some of the methods used under the program include egg oiling, diverting birds with pyrotechnics and removing nests and natural vegetation.”

Port Authority officials work to eliminate open or overflowing trash dumpsters at its airports. According to the Port Authority, its efforts to mitigate the bird population have been effective and bird strikes have been decreasing.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e−mail at agustafson@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 174.

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