A flame used to flare off gas at a landfill in the Meadowlands is reportedly injuring hawks and other birds. The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which maintains the closed landfill, is looking for solutions to the problem.
Last week a member of the Bergen County Audubon Society photographed a hawk unable to fly because of burns to its feathers. The hawk was later brought to The Raptor Trust to nurse it back to health.
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The hawk is the latest in a string of birds spotted at the landfill in recent years with singed tail and wing feathers, from threatened species such as American kestrels, to smaller birds attracted to the landfill’s grassland habitat.
They have been stymied in part because, as a Fish and Wildlife official put it, there isn't a national standard for how to protect birds from being injured or killed by such flames.
That has frustrated Don Torino, president of the Bergen County Audubon Society. “It’s just sad. It frustrates the heck out of me,” Torino said. “Nobody is giving the sports authority answers. It’s not like they’re not trying. This is a national problem that should be worked on at the national level. Letting the authority fend for itself to solve this is crazy.”
Torino said he feels like issuing an official challenge to the state’s engineering schools to get their students to design a solution to the problem.