Mad World: Going to the Birds

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We thought the goose-downed trials of Flight 1549 were a weird freak occurrence. Who knew that there have been 45 bird-strikes in 8 months…that means 45 separate occasions of birds running into airplanes and helicopters.  A whopping 219 people have died of bird-hits in the past twenty years (though thankfully not Fabio, who was beaned by a goose while riding a roller coaster in 1996).

On Saturday, a hospital helicopter in Arkansas was hit by a sharp goose,which tore a hole into the aircraft’s nose. The pilot made an emergency landing and no one was injured. Excuse me, but how the hell are birds this strong? Is Godzilla throwing them at planes?

According to experts, the number of bird-strikes are increasing along with the population of birds, especially geese, due in part to conservationist efforts. Goose-hunting season may help eradicate the onslaught. But it looks like, in addition to airplane collisions, nature has its own methods of weeding out the weak.

Over 400 endangered Cali brown pelicans have been found dead/dying since late December. The culprit seems to be a winter storm that caught the pelicans near the Oregon/Washington border. The frost-bitten feather mongers were thriving for a minute there, almost making it off the endangered species list. Bummerfest, little guys.

Bird flu is back, according to Chinese authorities who are setting up a nationwide network to test for the virus. Bird flu, or H5N1 avian influenza, has already killed two women this year in east China and infected a 2-year-old girl in north China. Two of those cases have unknown causes, one was caused by the women butchering nine ducks bought from a Hebei province market. Since 2003, the bird flu virus has infected innumerable bird species in more than 60 countries in Asia, Europe and Africa. It usually comes from bird-to-human contact. So put down the bird and pick up a hamburger. Or wear gloves. Duh.

Maybe it’s time for a bird holocaust in Asia, Africa, and Europe and they can have our stupid geese? We don’t want them, they’re jerks. They chase little kids, poop all over the place, and collide with our aircraft. We’ll work on the pelican guys while you guys figure out how to cook geese. Canadian geese for everyone!

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WordUp: H5N1, the scientific name for avian influenza

By the Numbers: 400 dying/dead Cali brown pelicans

219 people killed by bird-hits in 20 years

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