Raptor rescued and relocated

Red-tailed hawk relocated from King County International Airport

Reposted from Plane Talk

Thanks to George Pierce, airport operations specialist at King County International Airport (KCIA), and Scott Gilbert, a wildlife biologist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an adult Red-tailed hawk has been relocated safely from the airport to a rural environment.

Part of Pierce’s job is to patrol the airport and help keep wildlife away, preventing bird strikes and other safety issues.

“We had a resident bird that was encroaching closer and closer into the active airspace,” Pierce said. “This hawk, it’s getting too comfortable out here. I was growing concerned that this bird would cause a bird strike.”

He reached out to Gilbert one afternoon, and Gilbert arrived at the airport the next morning.

“We set the trap in an area I was noticing the hawk congregating the most,” Pierce said. “Four hours later we had the hawk. It’s very safe, very humane, the bird was not harmed.”

Birds who make their homes near the airport are a hazard to pilots, planes, and passengers. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there are more than 10,000 bird strikes per year in the U.S., with an average of more than 26 hits each day.  “My job is the overall safety and security of the airport,” Pierce said. “Wildlife management is a big part of aviation because bird strikes do happen, and our job is to prevent that.”