Piper, the wildlife control dog
Meet Piper, the Border Collie who works 40 hour a week at the Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, Michigan. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) declared that the airport must have a way of keeping wildlife off the runways and taxiways. This wildlife control dog was the perfect candidate for the job.
Notice what is happening in the above photo. There is a noisy helicopter behind Piper. There is also a snowstorm. Piper was asked to sit and he did.
Planes can strike animals
In the past 5 years the airport has experienced 37 bird strikes and one skunk strike. A collision with a loon left an 18 inch hole in a plane. Fortunately it was still able to land safely.
At other airports passengers have been killed because of bird strikes.
Piper spends most of his time chasing birds away from taxiways and runways. Because Border Collies are natural herders, they are the ideal dog for Piper’s position.
When he gets a report of a bird on the airport, Brian Edwards, Piper’s owner, drives his red SUV to the area and tells Piper to go get it. Recently the owls have become so aware of Piper that the dog does not even have time to get out of the vehicle. When the owls just see the red SUV, they sometimes fly away immediately.
Piper also patrols the airport fence line. Among other things, he seeks out ground hog holes for Brian Edwards to fill.
How this canine wildlife control job started
Brian Edwards had been the airport operations supervisor. He read something about dogs being used for wildlife control. He thought about his border collie and began to read and study more.
Edwards began training Piper on a 100 acre tract of land. Then he took the dog to the airport to get him used to the loud airplane noises. The rest is history.
Watch the Buzz60 news video about Piper.
If your dog has passed on …
If your pet has recently passed on, it may help to read our page about Loss of a Pet and the Grieving Process.