Sacramento airport officials are planning to remove a large pear orchard and 69 oak trees, following an order by the FAA in November to protect planes taking off and landing from birds.
The airport already mows the grass around its runways to discourage geese and other birds, but that also attracts hawks hunting for rodents – and removing the pear orchard would increase the problem.
Environmentalists, including the Sierra Club, say the airport and FAA should keep the native valley oaks and simply monitor the number of hawks and how often they strike planes.
Even before the orchard is removed, the airport averages about 100 bird strikes per year. One of the most serious strikes happened Dec. 28, when a bird flew into the engine of a Boeing 737 as it was taking off. The jet was forced to land immediately because of the damage.
The county has completed report on the removal of the trees and will accept written comments on the matter until Sept. 14.