Frequent flyers: Airport staff strive to keep birds out of BTR
BATON ROUGE - There aren't just airplanes and helicopters flying in and out of the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport these days. Passengers might see a bird flying around inside, too.
"We do all we can to try to keep them out," said BTR Airport Marketing and Air Service Development Manager Jim Caldwell.
Tuesday morning, a bird was perched on a pole inside the airport's high atrium. Its chirps bounced off the walls as some passengers looked up to see where the sound was coming from.
With a water source, plants, and crumbs left behind by passengers, Caldwell admits it's not a bad spot for a bird to hang out.
"You know, sometimes passengers will actually think that we have them here on purpose," he said.
The airport does not keep the birds there on purpose. Sometimes when one sees an open door they fly right in and make themselves at home.
A couple of weeks ago, a starling sat above a TV monitor singing a chipper song before passengers boarded a 6 a.m. flight to Dallas. People stopped to look, take photos, and listen to the chirps. Caldwell confirms they are not airport pets or emotional support animals.
BTR Airport says the birds don't stay long. In the evening maintenance staff lures them out with noise tactics, netting, and catch and release cages. The airport follows its wildlife hazard management plan, which is catch and release.
The airport says sometimes the birds fly out on their own and even though they don't carry identification, haven't ever caused a real problem.