Bird Strikes On Planes On The Rise

When US Airways Flight 1549 went down in New York's Hudson River in January, it taught us that bird strikes can have serious consequences.

Now, Federal Aviation Administration records are showing that bird strikes have become increasingly common, reports CBS News correspondent Priya David

That plane dropped from the sky within minutes of striking a flock of large Canadian geese, disabling both engines. And as astonishing as that story was, Flight 1549 wasn't the only plane brought down by geese in recent years -- and the rate of such incidents is increasing.

"We have had three losses in the last three years compared to three in the previous seven years," says Richard Dolbeer, a wildlife biologist.

New statistics from the FAA database show aircraft collisions with geese and other laege birds have surged 62 percent, from an average of 323 a year in the 1990s to 524 a year this decade.

Dolbeer says the cause of the increase is simply more birds.

"In 1990, we estimated 1 million resident Canada geese in U.S. population," he told David. "That population has increased four-fold, to about to about 4 million in 2008."

Still, experts say air trael remains safe, and new tactics to reduce bird strikes are having some success, tactis such as the use of radar to help identify migratory patterns.

"There is research being done," says Peter Golez, former managing director at the National Transportation and Safety Board. "There's devices that work. It's only a matter of time."
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