Birds continue to plague airport runway in Kenai

Posted: Monday, August 07, 2000

A scene reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock's movie, "The Birds," has been taking place all summer at Kenai Municipal Airport.

Every day, groups of seagulls cover the runway and gaggles of geese take up residence on the waterway floatplane docks, creating a dangerous situation for the airport.

"If they get sucked into an engine of one of those planes it'll crash the plane," Capt. William Furlong of the Kenai Fire Department said. "That's not a good picture."

Airport personnel and members of the fire department trek out to the runways with shotguns and fire bang shells into the air a couple of times a day to scare them off, Furlong said.

The birds have been particularly bothersome for most of the summer. Furlong said he didn't know what was drawing their attention to the runway.

"Either it's the heat of the tarmac or they're picking something up out there," he said.

At the moment, no permanent solutions have presented themselves.

"You can kill the birds," Furlong said. "I don't know other than that."

Seagulls are a federally protected species, "like an eagle; that's all an eagle is -- a glorified seagull," Furlong said, so it is illegal to shoot them.

The airport manager is looking into obtaining the required permits to enact a solution more permanent than the current scare tactics.

"We're just kind of a remedy thing, (the airport) is trying to get a permanent fix," Furlong said.

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