This Airport's Secret Weapon Against Bird Strikes? Pigs

Officials hope the pigs will eat enough sugar beet near Amsterdam's Schiphol hub to fend off geese
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2021 1:28 PM CST
This Airport's Secret Weapon Against Bird Strikes? Pigs
Stock photo.   (Pexels)

No one wants their plane to fly into a flock of birds during takeoff, and at one of the Netherlands' busiest hubs, they've come up with a most creative approach to try to prevent such an event. A six-week project has been launched that has stuck pigs on a 5-acre piece of land between two runways at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, in the hopes the animals will devour discarded sugar beet there that attracts local geese and other birds. There are 20 pigs currently chowing down on the crop residue.

The project is being run by the nation's infrastructure and water management agency, in conjunction with an agricultural supply firm and Buitengewone Varkens, the farm that supplied the pigs. In addition to the pigs depleting the sugar beet supply, they could also serve as scarecrows of sort, chasing after the geese who land to feast and scaring them away, Stan Gloudemans, the farm's co-owner, tells CNN.

Last year there were 150 or so bird strikes in the area, an airport spokesman says. The Guardian reports that in a 12-month span starting in November 2018, there were more than 550 bird strikes near Schiphol, especially in the warmer months. Such a strike can prove extremely dangerous, especially if any of the birds get sucked into a plane's engines. The airport already has 20 bird controllers in place that keep tabs on them, as well as devices that emit loud noises and laser beams to frighten them away. (Read more Amsterdam Schiphol Airport stories.)

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