Coyote blues at ARA

by Mary Tutwiler

Better watch out what you ask for. Better watch out what you ask for. The Acadiana Regional Airport in New Iberia has been battling Gordon Doerle for years, claiming that Gordon's Disposal construction and demolition debris site, which is near the runway, is attracting birds which endanger flights. This year, the airport was given a $85,000 grant by the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct a wildlife study on egrets, which have been the main cause of concern.

Turns out it's not the birds. It's the coyotes. According to the Daily Iberian, the study, by New Iberia native Zachary Lissard, an FAA-certified biologist, states that "coyotes are plentiful in the area and pose a problem to aircraft attempting to takeoff at night since the lights on airplanes can cause them to freeze in the middle of a runway." Yikes!

The egrets, Lissard noted, are not so much attracted to Doerle's landfill as they are to the newly mowed fields and grazing cattle which surround the airport. That's where they go to feed while on their daily flight from Spanish Lake to a rookery on Jefferson Island. Seems the parish built the airport smack dab in the middle of the migration route.

Both the airport and Doerle have instituted mitigation plans for eradicating birds in the vicinity of the runway. Next, Wile E. Coyote. Perhaps they should import a few roadrunners. That might do the trick.