Pro Bird Chaser: Salary $76,000

A good friend of mine is fond of saying, "I may not get a bird every time my dog and I go out, but I sure as heck move a few!"

Maybe he ought to apply for the position of "bird chaser" at the Fort Lauderdale airport. Since the airport has requested that Broward County, Fla., pay for the job, the proposed salary is a matter of public record: $76,000 annually.

The idea that anyone could earn a comfortable, taxpayer-funded living by watching birds all day has made the proposal the brunt of talk show humor; however, after several high profile bird-strike incidents, most notably by a goose that caused U.S. Airways Flight 1549 to land safely in the Hudson River, there is renewed interest in controlling birds near airports.

Two such incidents have occurred at the Fort Lauderdale airport. From the Sun-Sentinel:

In 2010, a US Airways jet was taking off when it collided with a vulture. One of the engines went out. The plane had to circle and return, with crushed bird feathers in the blades.

In another instance, a plane hit a flock of grackles, Nonnemacher said. Currently, the airport sends employees out every day to shoo away the birds—by firing deafening flare guns, for instance. The airport spends $10,00 a year on pyrotechnics. The point is to do whatever is possible to harass the birds, but not kill them.

What say you, readers? Does the risk justify the expense?

H/T The Outdoor Pressroom

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2 Responses to Pro Bird Chaser: Salary $76,000

Chuck wrote:
June 04, 2012

How much does a new jet engine cost after it has eaten a flock of grackles or a goose or two? I haven't been in the market for jet engines recently, but it wouldn't just astound me if a reconditioned jet engine cost as much as they are wiling to pay this guy a year and be able to cover his full medical coverage, a 401(k) with maximum employer contribution. all the noisemakers he can use and still have a pile of cash left over. and then if we talk about replacing that jet that crashed — well, you get the idea.

Doug wrote:
June 01, 2012

The risk absolutely justifies the expense--especially if I get the job!