Today marks 8-year anniversary of ‘Miracle on the Hudson’

It was one of the most incredible and heroic acts in modern USA history: “Sully” Sullenberger managed to land a jetliner on the Hudson River eight years ago after having his engines disabled shortly after takeoff by a flock of birds, and no one was seriously injured.While the LaGuardia and Newark numbers appear to show a dramatic increase in bird strikes after the initiation of such programs, the Port Authority suggests that they could also simply indicate more diligent reporting of minor collisions following the 2009 incident.Yahoo News reports that there has been an uptick in airport “bird-killing programs” since the 2009 landing.It’s unclear whether the bird-killings have made the skies any safer.Exactly eight years ago, on 15 January 2009, flight 1549 took off from La Guardia airport en route to Charlotte Douglas with 150 passengers and three flight attendants aboard, plus the pilots.Airports reported an average of 158 strikes per year before the 2009 landing, and now report an average of 299 per year, according to AP.The event launched Sullenberger into the national consciousness, and he was praised as a hero. Geese became public enemy No. 1.After the Hudson crash geese were primarily targeted around LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark. Wildlife officials armed with shotguns took aim at the birds, or set traps for them.Authorities in NY have been accused of the massacre of thousands of wild birds in a vain bid to prevent another incident like the downing of flight 1549 in 2009. Then there would be 16,800 European starlings, 6,000 brown-headed cowbirds and somewhere around 4,500 mourning doves.Planes hit birds over NY daily but they rarely cause accidents.Of the 249 birds that damaged an aircraft from 2004 to April of past year, 54 were seagulls, 12 were osprey, 11 were double-crested cormorants and 30 were geese, according to Federal Aviation Administration data.Close to 35,000 European starlings were slaughtered at the three airports during that time period, but only one was involved in a strike that actually damaged an aircraft.History serves as a reminder that the starling, while small, can still be risky. Since 1988, more than 255 people have been killed worldwide in aircraft that have suffered bird strikes.But airport safety officials say activists are missing one crucial detail – there hasn’t been a single bird strike crash since the efforts were expanded. But, as the article points out, there are other, less lethal ways to disperse nested birds such as lasers (???) and introducing certain insects to the area.While bird strikes are not uncommon, recent statistics compiled by the Associated Press show that the culling efforts may not be particularly successful.