WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Birds have been to blame for a number of emergency landings at airports across the nation, so the 22News I-Team conducted an investigation to find out how local airports are handling the issue.
We found that the airports in our area aren't immune to the bird vs. airplane problem, but they are all taking measures to keep you safe.
Barnes Municipal Airport manager Brian Barnes told 22News his airport has a plan to prevent bird related accidents.
"We used to have bird strikes all the time, we had them go through engines and through the front end of wings, we've had to declare emergencies many times over the past 15-20 years so it is a significant problem," Barnes said.
It's the same story down the road, where a number of rare birds live in the area surrounding Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee.
These birds can do some serious damage to an aircraft. they can break the windows, pierce the fuselage and destroy an engine.
At Barnes Municipal Airport, there are protected lands southeast and north of the runway. City Advancement Officer Jeffrey Daly says it's not an ideal situation, but they're taking steps to ensure everyone is safe.
"We do everything from lighting off flares, to distract and detract the birds from coming here, but also keeping the grass and vegetation at a certain length," Daly said.
It's a similiar story at Westover where they say they're working with wildlife agencies to protect their birds while keeping safety top priority.
Drew Milroy, the Natural Resources Manager at Westover Air Reserve Base, told 22News that base officials keep an eye on the birds to prevent problems.
"We think we have a good program here to keep track of what the season is and what the bird activity is and making sure when we fly we have that in mind," Milroy said.
Officials from the Northampton Airport and Bradley International Airport told the 22News I-Team that they are also taking measures to avoid bird strikes.
Lawmakers on Beacon Hill are considering a bill to address the issue.
Here is a summary of the bill:
Senate Bill 1854 "An Act relative to land takings" seeks to address the issue of regulations promulgated by the Division of Fish and Wildlife that run contrary to the law in that they do not provide basic due process for land owners nor compensation for land when land taken.
Section 1 stipulates that the Division of Fish and Wildlife cannot promulgate a regulation that does not follow the notice, due process, and appellate structure that is currently in Chapter 131A of the Massachusetts General Laws
Section 2 directs that the division to amend or abolish any existing regulation that runs contrary to the law, such as the "priority habitat" designation for land which does not have the due process structure and is not recorded in registry of deed as other land is and has no assurance of a timely appeal .
Section 3 give the division 6 months to fulfill the requirements of section 2; if the division fails to do so the designation "priority habitat" will be abolished.