Thanks to Chinky for sending me these two letters - Don't Gun them down and Heavy-handed about the sea eagles that are being shot by the gun club at Changi Airport. An earlier article about Changi Airport mentions that birds that arrive are scared off, or shot down.
I missed the original article and was horrified to read that the sea eagles (and presumably some other birds) are shot as a measure of 'last resort'. One wonders what qualifies as last resort. As Mr Owyong mentioned in his letter, if this is a 'last resort', then why is the gun club called in regularly?
Other airports have used computer modelling, mats that prevent worms from nesting on their grass so that the birds aren't attracted there (which I mentioned in an earlier blog post), working with biologists, and just about a dozen other different methods. Making the area inhospitable is probably the best first step to keeping the birds out.
I also fail to see how random shooting of the birds actually helps to improve safety. Shouldn't there be a better method in place than to get people in to shoot them once in a while? Also, it seems that there are better, more technologically advanced methods of keeping the birds out - why not employ these rather than low-tech point and shoot, which does nothing except kill birds? The gun club has mentioned that they cannot shoot some of the birds because they fly too high and fast for them - and tempted as I am to say good for the birds (which I will), it also clearly shows the limitations of the method being employed.
If Changi really wants to be a number one airport, then I certainly hope they come up with a better method of preventing bird strikes.