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70K geese killed since ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ plane crash

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NEW YORK - JANUARY 15: Rescue workers assist a New York City Fire Department boat pulled near a US Airways plane floating in the water after crashing into the Hudson River in the afternoon on January 15, 2009 in New York City. The Airbus 320 flight 1549 crashed shortly after take-off from LaGuardia Airport heading to Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Birds took the blame for bringing down the jetliner that “Sully” Sullenberger landed on the Hudson River eight years ago this weekend, and they have been paying for it with their lives ever since.

An Associated Press analysis of bird-killing programs put in place around New York City-area airports in response to the 2009 accident found that nearly 70,000 geese and other birds have been slaughtered.

But it is unclear whether the killings have made the skies over the city any safer.

Federal data show the number of strikes at LaGuardia and Newark actually went up in the years following the Sullenberger landing.

The number of reported strikes at Kennedy Airport has ticked up too, though fewer birds have been killed there in recent years.

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