Tall Grass May Deter Plane-Bird Crashes

One of the biggest challenges to safe air travel is another winged creature: the bird. The FAA says there are some 10,000 airplane-bird strikes a year, which cost as much as $950 million in engine damage annually and have killed more than 250 people since 1988. However, some airports are testing out innovative ways to avoid these bird-meets-machine collisions. Dayton International Airport is growing tall prairie grass in an attempt to keep birds away. Birds apparently avoid the grass because they fear predators may hide in it. Terrence G. Slaybaugh, the airport’s director, said “If we are going to protect the long-term use of airports in an increasingly populated area, we need to be less intrusive and find ways to contribute in a positive way to our surroundings.” And it’s certainly kinder than the current alternatives for coping with the birds: poisoning and shooting them.