Dogs with Jobs meet Sky the Border Collie.
Sky the Border Collie is a bird dog she is trained to chase the birds off the airfield at Southwest Florida International Airport. Which is a necessary and important job because the airport was basically built on the Everglades. There is lots of water around the airport and a thick treeline just off airport property for the birds to take cover and nest.
Sky’s handler, operations agent Meg Jones, says,
“the birds see her as a predator and the birds never get used to her, so it’s a very effective tool. Her job is to keep the airport safe, free of birds. Basically to make sure the birds don’t enjoy coming here.”
Sky is just one part of the wildlife management plan to keep birds and other animals away from the planes at take off and landing. Birds that inadvertently fly into planes can cause major damage to the planes taking out engines. The airport also uses pyrotechnics and sirens, much like other major airports, to scare the birds away.
Jones says most of the bird strikes this year have occurred off the airport property. She says she doesn’t consider birds a big problem with Sky around keeping them away. Sky works seven days a week, usually from 7 a.m.- 3 p.m. She goes home with Jones four nights a week, and another trainer three nights a week.