The agency that oversees New York’s airports has added snowy owls to its no-fly list, shooting down at least two at Kennedy Airport and issuing an alert to kill any more that are spotted there, an airport source told NBC 4 New York.
The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey issued the shoot-to-kill order for the birds after one flew into a jet's engine while the plane was on a tarmac at Kennedy last week, the source said.
Port Authority workers shot two snowy owls with a shotgun on Saturday amid concerns that they would also fly into planes. A wildlife specialist who works for the Port Authority spent 45 minutes chasing one of them down, the source said.
The Port Authority had no immediate comment.
This isn’t the first time the Port Authority has killed birds over flight concerns. More than 1,000 geese were caught and gassed near Rikers Island between 2003 and 2009 to curb the potential threat to aircraft, according to the Daily News.
A commercial jet hit a goose upon takeoff in 2009, forcing the plane to land on the Hudson River in what was referred to as the Miracle on the Hudson. That brought renewed focus on the threat of bird strikes, and about 2,000 geese were rounded up and killed that year.
Hundreds have since been killed each year near airports and in parks throughout the city.