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Bird hit man loves his human-life-saving job

By Ed O'Keefe

Michael J. Begier is a mild-mannered government official who loves his job. The Agriculture Department employees basically makes troublesome birds go away, reports The Post's Jason Horowitz:

Michael Begier
Michael Begier, bird eradication expert. (USDA photo)

The wildlife biologist is the government's point man for drafting and executing policies to eradicate avian threats from the friendly skies. His office is on the speed dial of cities, states and airports swarmed by winged saboteurs, especially the Canada geese, European starlings and European rock pigeons that perch atop the current ornithological terror list.

"We're the federal office people turn to when there is a wildlife situation," said Begier, as pigeons circled a hot-dog stand outside his Independence Avenue SW office.
Since January 2009, when U.S. Airways Flight 1549 struck some Canada geese and caused the high-profile "Miracle on the Hudson" landing, Begier has been very busy.
There are now 3.89 million Canada geese in the United States -- and 1 million on the East Coast -- up from 230,000 in 1970. There are not enough predators to keep them in check. That's where Begier comes in. Between October 2008 and September 2009, the last year statistics are available, Begier's colleagues at Wildlife Services chased away 400,000 geese from golf courses, athletic fields, gated communities and other places where lawns are plentiful and man and animal come in conflict. But at airports, Begier said, "there is zero tolerance."

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By Ed O'Keefe  | September 29, 2010; 1:12 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, From The Pages of The Post  
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