During the course of nine months, US military aircraft at the Manas Transit Center outside of Bishkek had run-ins with 59 birds, causing $350,000 in damage to the airplanes. To mitigate the threat, Manas has a Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) program using trained hawks and falcons to chase away local birds.
The Air Force runs more than 500 flights transporting 36,000 American troops and more than 10 million gallons of jet fuel through Manas every month in support of the war in Afghanistan, offering ample opportunities for such run-ins.
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David Trilling is the Central Asia news editor for EurasiaNet.