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The Bird Scarers of Honolulu International Airport

How a handful of Wildlife Services officers with a mixed bag of tricks safeguards aviation at Honolulu International Airport.


(page 3 of 8)

1. Driving along runways, where the oncoming traffic approaches at 170 miles per hour, takes full concentration. 2. Rutka looks on as Phelps readies the Super Talon Animal Catcher. 3. Reloading the CODA All-Purpose Netgun. 4. Rutka prepares to pyro. 5. A bird-scaring experiment: the radio-controlled car.

Phelps is out on the runway today to accompany HONOLULU Magazine on a ride-along. We’ve come to get a taste of what it is that bird scarers do. We sit with Phelps in the backseat of the trucks’ extended cab, leaving the front passenger seat for Rutka’s two shotguns.

From the birds’ standpoint, Honolulu International’s 4,222 acres are a vast feeding ground. Keeping them out entirely would be as impossible as holding back the tide. Wildlife Services focuses instead on keeping birds away from the runways and on waging a daily campaign of harassment to discourage birds from coming to the airport in general.

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Honolulu Magazine March 2018
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