Southwest Florida International relies on an old-fashioned remedy for runway safety: a smart dog.Read more!
Since 2001, a 9-year-old border collie named Radar has been patrolling the runway and chasing away any birds in sight. Birds being sucked into aircraft engines is one of the most persistent safety problems at airports. Border collies scare the birds but don't harm them.
The military was first to use dogs to chase birds from runways. Southwest Florida was the first commercial airport to begin using dogs in 1999, says airport spokeswoman Victoria Moreland.
She says other airports have inquired about it, and some are adopting the program.
She says bird strikes and bird populations have fallen dramatically. Surrounded by lakes and wetlands, the airport draws a variety of species, including sandhill cranes, eagles, wood storks, turkey vultures, egrets, herons and ducks.
Now that's a job I would definitely love to do, herding birds is one of my favorite passtimes!