Blog Your Blessings: Turtles with a Walk-on Role
I was thrilled to pieces this week when I heard about the 78 turtles who stopped air traffic for 1.5 hours at John F. Kennedy airport on Wednesday. Until Wednesday, I would have thought you'd have to be a big noise to have that effect.
But then, maybe 78 2- to 3-pound diamond back terrapins on a mission to keep diamondback terrapins on this earth are a big noise. Here's the Daily News's version of the story:
Dozens of randy turtles crawled onto a JFK airport runway Wednesday, delaying flights for over an hour, authorities said.
Port Authority workers rushed to the shell-covered runway about 8:30 a.m. and scooped up 78 diamondback terrapins that had left the waters of Jamaica Bay scouting a spot to breed, said Port Authority spokesman John Kelly.
Pilots from various airlines shared the news with stuck passengers who had to wait up to 90 minutes for their flights to take off so the turtles could land in a safe place.
"Everybody had a good attitude considering it was turtles going off to hatch more turtles," Kelly said.
The animals were piled onto the back of a Port Authority pickup truck and were moved "back into Jamaica Bay," Kelly said.
Jets hit turtles a few times each year at JFK, usually in the final days of June or earliest days in July, according to the FAA's wildlife strike database. There have been no recent reports of the strikes causing any damage to an airplane.
The website NYC Aviation pointed out:
JFK Airport is almost entirely surrounded by bays, creeks, swamps and undeveloped land, on which all sorts of wildlife live happily despite the rumbling of aircraft at all hours. It is not unusual to see bird watchers standing beside plane spotters in areas such as Broad Channel Island. Other residents include rabbits, snakes, Canada geese, feral cats, and the occasional runaway show dog.
So that's it. We live in a world that actually stepped into turtle time--and survived. I'm happy for the little dudes. Maybe someday they (the airport guys and the turtles) will take their rightful place in the museum.