For Love Field, Birds Aren't the Only Problem

All of the major airports in North Texas take measures to keep the skies and runways free of birds and other wildlife that can be of risk to planes.

Airports across the nation have all kinds of ways to control the bird population. Some use shotguns, some use sirens and some even use falconry.

"Anything on the runway can be a danger," ground officer Charles Cassels said. "It's why we are always on the lookout."

A crew of officers at Dallas Love Field patrol the grounds looking for birds that could pose a danger to the jetliners coming in and out of the airport. But those same officers often find another wildlife nuisance: stray dogs.

"We do have issues with stray dogs that burrow there way under the perimeter fence," said Terry Mitchell, assistant director of aviation.

He said a stray dog finds its way onto the airfield every few weeks.

From the old control tower, officers use binoculars to look for wildlife and debris on runways or in the airfield. If they spot anything out of the ordinary, they dispatch ground officers and then immediately radio Federal Aviation Administration controllers.

Thursday's crash of US Airways flight 1549 in New York was a stark reminder for operations managers such as Terry Mitchell that birds and other animals can reek havoc on airplane.

"Any incident like that will get the attention of an airport operator, because it's our job to prevent that from happening," Mitchell said.

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