Birds shot and killed at airport
A WORKER has been left horrified after witnessing airport authorities killing two magpies with a shotgun at the Gold Coast Airport.
A man, who declined to provide his name, said he was working at a nearby property where he had watched young magpies grow up close to the airport - and within its boundaries - for a number of years.
He said he had been left shocked when he saw a female officer pull up to a couple of young magpies close to the fence line, get the rifle from the back of the car and shoot multiple times at the birds. Two dead birds were culled and removed.
It comes just under two weeks since the local airport bird-dog, Joe, suddenly died.
"I wasn't very happy with it," the man said.
"I didn't believe what I was seeing. Usually they use cannons, like a firework, and everyone takes off.
"But there was nothing (yesterday)."
He added that he understood safety came first and that the culling of birds was sometimes necessary for safety reasons, but this incident had "pissed" him off.
He said he had watched the magpies around the airport growing up for years and this was the first time officers had used lethal means first thing in the morning.
He said he had witnessed birds being shot before at the airport - but only after the other methods, including the use of the whip, siren, horn and shouting, had been used.
A statement from Gold Coast Airport said: "Gold Coast Airport made every effort this week to move on two magpies that were causing a risk to aircraft.
"Over the course of four days, airport contractors used a horn, siren, whip and shouting. But these methods were unsuccessful.
"As a last resort, the birds were culled. We appreciate community concerns and want to make it clear that every avenue is explored before going down this path.
"Magpies and other wildlife on or near airports pose a risk to aircraft operations, and all airports are required to carefully manage this. Safety has to be our top priority."
But the man has been left shaken by the event and said one of the baby magpies shot at found refuge underneath his car. He said it had been left injured and had blood on its foot.
Magpies are a protected native species in Australia, and it is illegal to injure or kill them.
The airport confirmed it "has a detailed Wildlife Hazard Management Plan, which outlines objectives, responsibilities and procedures for managing, assessing, monitoring and recording wildlife hazards for the management of that risk.
"Airport staff and contractors always operate in accordance with legislated requirements and permits."