Cabbies Illegally Feeding JFK's Winged Menace

Planes imperiled by well-fed fowl

By Scott Ross
|  Monday, Jan 26, 2009  |  Updated 8:55 AM PDT
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Cabbies Illegally Feeding JFK's Winged Menace

Cabbies' waste is feeding the geese that endanger every flight in and out of JFK.

The geese that downed flight 1549 may well have been fueled by calories they enjoyed courtesy of New York City hacks.

Every cabbie heading into Kennedy Airport passes the giant electronic sign that clearly explains the rules against feeding local birds, "No exceptions."

Nonetheless, all manner of geese, ducks and seagulls gorge themselves everyday on a veritable buffet of cab driver detritus.

"Some guys who don't eat their roll or bread just feed it all to the birds," driver Cliff Adler told the New York Post. "Giant seagulls, pigeons and geese swoop down. I have been telling people for years, but a lot of them just laugh in my face."

In-flight encounters have plagued aviators going back to the days of the Wright Brothers. The first "bird strike" was recorded in 1905 by Wilbur Wright.

"Now each year birds cause more than $600 million in damage to civilian and military aircraft, and 163 injuries and nine deaths have been reported for civilians since 1990, according to the FAA," Wired magazine reported.'

Still, not two weeks after "The Miracle on the Hudson," cabbies are serving up a feast to the living missiles that zip past dozens of aircraft every day.

"It's the Port Authority's job to constantly hammer these guys and let them know they can't do it," said Steven Garber, a biologist who in 1996 wrote a report about the dangers of bird-feeding cabbies.

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