[CT Birds] Audubon New York Response to Snowy Owl Situation

Comins, Patrick PCOMINS at audubon.org
Mon Dec 9 16:50:23 EST 2013


Here is Audubon New York's response to the Snowy Owl situation:


Dear Audubon New Yorker,

I know that many of you are aware of news stories today about JFK issuing an order to have snowy owls killed at JFK airport. We drafted a letter to the Executive Director of the Port Authority (which controls JFK) and asked NYC Audubon to sign it with us (attached) which asks the PA to consider non-lethal means of removing these majestic and important birds from the airport(s).  We have sent  the letter to the Port Authority Executive Director (Pat Foye) and JFK’s General Manager. We have also alerted Governor Cuomo’s Office (the PA is jointly controlled by NY and NJ) and the DEC as to our position. I did a Long Island News interview (via phone) earlier today and there may be other media interviews.  We will also be issuing an Alert to our chapter leaders (which Laura will share with you) via email.

Essentially our position is that there are non-lethal control strategies that are equally effective, including trapping and releasing. We are aware of such a strategy at Boston’s Logan Airport.

A big thanks to Sean Mahar in his help with this issue… all day… with assists from Laura McCarthy, Mike Burger, and Jillian Liner. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Best regards,
Erin

Erin M. Crotty
Vice President & Executive Director
Audubon New York
200 Trillium Lane
Albany, New York 12203
518-869-9731 (office)

518-275-3103 (cell)


Patrick J. Foye

Executive Director

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

225 Park Avenue South

New York, NY 10003

December 9, 2013


Dear Director Foye,

Audubon New York, the state program of the National Audubon Society, and New York City Audubon are deeply concerned with the recent news reports regarding an order issued by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) regarding Snowy Owls management at John F. Kennedy International Airport. While we understand the need to protect airline and passenger safety, we are concerned that, according to the news reports, this new order directs that the airport pursue lethal control of Snowy Owls before exploring non-lethal alternatives.

Typically an Artic bird, Snowy Owls tend to move south into the Northeast during the winter when food availability in other parts of their range is low. This year a larger that normal influx of Snowy Owls has been reported in the region with many sightings over their preferred foraging habitat: large open fields. While we understand that due to their large size these birds may pose a threat to air safety, other airports including Boston’s Logan Airport have utilized non-lethal control techniques such as trapping to manage the larger than normal occurrence of Snowy Owls.

We strongly urge for a similar type of non-lethal approach to be instituted at JFK airport before resulting to lethal means, and would like to discuss this issue with you or the appropriate staff further. Audubon New York and New York City Audubon have been partners with the airport in the past, and would like to continue to be a resource for wildlife management activities involving birds. Please provide a copy of the order referenced in the news reports and contact Sean Mahar of Audubon New York (smahar at audubon.org / 518-669-1768) to schedule a call regarding the management of Snowy Owls at JFK airport and other PANYNJ facilities.


Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

Erin M. Crotty Executive Director Director Audubon New York

Glenn Phillips  New York City Audubon


Cc: Jerry Spampanato, General Manager – JFK International Airport


Audubon New York Statement Regarding Lethal Control of

Snowy Owls at the John F. Kennedy International Airport

Urges Airport to halt shooting birds and institute non-lethal control

methods immediately.

Albany, New York – Monday December 9, 2013 – Audubon New York, the State program of the National Audubon Society issued the following statement regarding reports of lethal control of Snowy Owls at the John F. Kennedy International Airport.

“Audubon New York is extremely discouraged and deeply concerned with the reports that officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey authorized the shooting of Snowy Owls at the John F. Kennedy International Airport,” said Erin Crotty, Executive Director of Audubon New York. “We understand the need to protect airline and passenger safety, but there is no need for the airport to be using lethal controls when there are non-lethal control strategies that are equally effective, including trapping and releasing, and have been used successfully at other airports.”

“We call on the Port Authority to cease all lethal control measures and immediately institute a non-lethal control strategy to protect these snowy Owls, and welcome the opportunity to work with the Port Authority to develop such a non-lethal strategy,” continued Crotty.

Typically an Artic bird, Snowy Owls tend to move south into the Northeast during the winter when food availability in other parts of their range is low. This year a larger that normal influx of Snowy Owls has been reported in the region with many sightings over their preferred foraging habitat: large open fields. For more information on this issue or Snowy Owls, contact Sean Mahar – Smahar at audubon.org or 518-669-1768.

Audubon New York’s, the 50,000 member State program of the National Audubon Society, mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity. Our national network of community-based nature centers and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy, engage millions of people of all ages in realizing our mission.

###


Patrick


Patrick M. Comins
Director of Bird Conservation

Audubon Connecticut
185 East Flat Hill Road
Southbury, CT 06488

Phone: (203)264-5098 x308

Fax: (203)264-6332

pcomins at audubon.org
http://iba.audubon.org/iba/viewState.do?state=US-CT
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