As many people know, especially after the recent US Airways Flight 1549 incident, birds and planes do not mix. That’s why at the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport they hired a Filly as a preemptive strike. Filly is a border collie who chases fowl for a living, she’s a “wildlife management canine.”
“She’s chased flocks of geese into the water,” said Bob Hood, the airport’s wildlife manager. “She’s really good at her job and she really likes her job.”
Filly is the third wildlife management canine Hood has trained to shoo away birds like Canada geese at the airport. (He’s trained police dogs and search-and-rescue dogs as well.)
The birds, of course, probably don’t much like having Filly around — but it’s certainly preferable to the alternatives, not the least of which is being hit by a plane. From the Coos Bay World:
The dogs don’t hurt the birds, because they usually can’t catch them, although Filly did catch a goose once.
“She’s fast,” Hood said. “I saw her run and jump up in the air. There was a big fight on the ground by the time I got there.”
The Coos County Animal Shelter donated the 2 1/2-year-old about a year ago. She had about two months of training before going out in the field.
Every day Hood and Filly arrive at the airport at 5:30 a.m. and stay until dark when an operations crew takes over.
As they ride around in his truck, Hood communicates by radio with the air traffic controllers, who monitor aircraft arrivals.
That’s one smart dog, she knew how to make herself invaluable and get hired even in these tough times.