30 November 2009

Questionable Statements by Qwest Official on Addressing Bird Strikes

A recent newspaper article about efforts to address bird-strikes in downtown Omaha included comments about the Qwest Center Omaha.

The president and CEO of the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority, Roger Dixon, was quoted as saying: "We are trying to do something."

A previous paragraph of the story said: "Instead Qwest officials have begun applying a decal of leaves to the inside of windows, he said. The method's effectiveness will be assessed during the migratory season."

MECA is responsible for management of the facility.

The article was published on November 23, 2009.

Statement Considered

With mid-afternoon weather conditions conducive for bicycling to downtown, a visit was made on Saturday, November 27, to look for decals at the west facade of the Qwest Center Omaha, as the news article said officials had started to apply decals.

Despite looking closely, there were no leaf decals apparent on any of the windows on the west side of the Qwest Center Omaha. Nothing was noted to indicate that the Qwest Center Omaha officials had made any effort despite the statement in the newspaper article.

Views of the west facade of the Qwest Center Omaha showing there are no decals that have been installed on the glass. Pictures taken the afternoon of November 28, 2009.

This visit was more than a week after the newspaper reporter had talked with Dixon, based on an email received indicating the deadline for the completion of the article.

It seems that officials of the Qwest Center Omaha are trying to do something, though it can be perceived as not what they claim?

According to personal experience, there are two particular details that convey how management officials are not trying to address the bird-strike problem:

1) Throwing bird carcasses into the trash to make certain that any bird strikes are not documented; and

2) Realization that no decals have been placed on windows of the facility, based on a visit.

The following items are pertinent to this situation:

  • Qwest Center Omaha officials did not respond to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service request to address conditions causing bird strikes at their facility, based upon email correspondence in autumn 2008; nothing was done.
  • Qwest Center officials have made previous accusations which were based on their perspective, with the accusatory statement completely wrong.
  • Qwest Center Omaha officials require that security personnel throw any found bird carcasses into the trash, since early autumn 2009, based upon personal experience, as previously reported.
  • Qwest Center Omaha officials stated that they are "trying to do something" when based upon a close investigation of the facility, there are no decals apparent upon the glass facade on the west side of the structure, despite a statement claiming this has been done, in the 23 November 2009 newspaper article.

It is also very questionable as to how there can be any valid assessment "during the migratory season" of the efficacy of any decals, by officials which have continually not undertaken any efforts to prevent numerous, and ongoing bird strikes.

This would be like having the "fox guarding the chickens," as there can be no independent evaluation of any changes following the installation of any measures to reduce strikes.

Officials can easily say there are fewer occurrence. Would any statement be based on the actual situation, or rather on what information that they want to convey.

The director of the MECA board has also not allowed any opportunity for response, as she did not responded to several phone messages. Mr. Dixon has made comments in an email, which were simply not true, in regards to pictorial documentation of carcasses of birds present on the west side of the Qwest Center Omaha.

There has not been any opportunity for communication, or discussion of the situation at this building, and what could be done to reduce the number of bird strikes.

It is not known what communications Qwest Center Omaha officials may have had with the F.W.S.

At the Qwest Center Omaha - the most hazardous building for migratory birds in Omaha, and based upon known instances of bird-strikes - there have been more than 225 casualties at this facility in 2008 and 2009.

The total number would be greater, but based on the recent conditions, security men throw any bird carcasses into the trash during their patrol in the early morning hours. This has meant that any strikes could not be documented,

A representative number for the strikes per year is 120 for this building, which was the tally in 2008. Bird-strikes have undoubtedly occurred ever since construction of the building was completed in ??.

The most important consideration is that something must be done to reduce the number of strikes and subsequent deaths of many types of migratory birds.

There is a profound and essential difference between talking about a problem, and then actually doing something about the situation.

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