In a bid to clear the air for New York City area planes, 70,000 birds have been slaughtered since 2009, reports the Associated Press.

According to the report, nearly 70,000 gulls, geese, starling and other birds were killed by shooting or trapping in order to make skies safer for flights.

The slaughter was triggered by an accident on January 15, 2009 when US Airways Flight 1549 was landed on Hudson river by Chesley "Sully" Sullenberg after several geese were sucked into its engines. While the engines were knocked out, all 155 people aboard survived. The incident is now referred to as 'miracle on Hudson.'

Following the incident, flocks of birds were trapped and killed with shotguns at the three principal airports of New York- JFK, La Guardian and Newark.

Source/Reuters

However, Independent reports that even after such measures, the number of recorded bird strikes actually went up. While on an average there were 158 strikes before the 2009 incident, six years later, there were 299 bird strikes.

Of the 70,000 birds killed, 28,000 were seagulls, 16,800 were European starlings, 6,000 brown-headed cowbirds and 4,500 were mourning doves, says the AP investigation.

A photo from the incident | Source: Reuters

While Laura Francoeur, chief wildlife biologist at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey maintains that they try their best to reduce risk for flights, Jeffrey Kramer of the group GooseWach NYC says that there has to be a long-term solution that doesn't involve killing birds.

(Feature image source: Reuters)