BENTONVILLE -- Officials have learned it will take more than a laser or a fake coyote to scare geese away from the municipal airport.
City officials have tried different methods to get geese to leave the property, with little success, and are looking into more options, said Dennis Birge, transportation engineer.
"It's a hazard because planes, as they are coming to land or are taking off, are coming into contact with the geese," said Chuck Chadwick, airport manager.
Chadwick said a goose caused damage to an airplane's wing about two months ago. The incident did not result in any injuries, he said Wednesday after an airport advisory board meeting.
Bird strikes injured 311 people in the United States from 1990 to 2017 and were involved in 287 deaths worldwide from 1988 to 2017, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The airport purchased a laser for about $700 and has shined it at the geese between five and 10 times since the beginning of March in attempts to scare the geese away, Birge said.
"It should give them the instinct to fly away," Birge said. "That's what we purchased it based on, but we haven't had those results yet."
Birge has seen more success with a decoy coyote and plans to try placing a second decoy coyote at the airport. He said a single decoy cannot be left in one place for too long because the geese get used to it and aren't scared of it anymore.
"It's going to take time," Chadwick said. "There's not an immediate resolution to it at all."
In February, officials discussed applying for a state permit to kill the geese, but Birge said they are no longer pursuing that.
"It's an option that a lot of airports use and that maybe someday we have to, but at this point it's not on our radar," he said.
Instead, the staff will look at possibly using a trained dog or falcon to scare away the geese.
If they go the falconry route, a falcon trainer would take the falcon to fly over the geese.
"It's another natural predator of the geese that helps scare the geese away from that location," Birge said. "If you fly the hawk enough times, then hopefully the geese get the hint and they stay away."
State Desk on 04/11/2019