Men who stare at storks protect military aircraft
"Are you looking at me?" Storks apparently have more fear of eye contact than of gunfire, an environmentalist says.
June 29th, 2011
09:45 AM ET

Men who stare at storks protect military aircraft

As Zeltweg, Austria, prepares to host this weekend's Airpower 2011 show, a sort of international tent sale of military aircraft, organizers are worried about the danger posed by storks.

Officials tried luring the birds to another area by offering tasty food and posting decoy storks, but that didn't work, Austrian Times reported.

So, with time running out, an elite team of Austrian soldiers has been brought in to deal with the problem - not by shooting at the birds, but by staring at them.

"The troops have been observing the area and finding out where the storks seem to like to go to feed," local environmentalist Siegfried Prinz told Austrian Times. "They then turn up and engage them in eye contact."

Apparently, that's unnerving enough to prompt a stork to fly the coop.

"Being stared at actually intimidates the storks more than the sound of a gun or other explosive devices," Prinz said.

Aviation safety experts were to make the final call Wednesday on whether the birds had moved out of harm's way. The show, sponsored by the energy drink Red Bull, is expected to draw 300,000 spectators. It's not known if George Clooney planned to be among them.

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Filed under: Animals • Austria • Aviation • Birds • Military
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. begoosed

    They need a stork-sized AviTrap : )

    June 29, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. canuckview

    Silly birds

    June 29, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jim

    How the heck does Red Bull sponsor a military arms sale?

    June 29, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • umad

      they sponser everything

      June 29, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jessica

    well its better than poisoning them like the american government do

    June 29, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • MrId

      Yeah Boo America! Everything they do is EVIL!!!!

      June 30, 2011 at 2:16 am | Report abuse |
  5. ooooahh

    Young Austrian men can stare at me anytime. Cuties.

    June 29, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Maurice

    Nice and informative article, all until the commercial crap Red Bull and George Clooney were mentioned.

    June 29, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dana in NYC

    Why this takes an "elite team" of the military is beyond me. Sounds like a natural response to a perceived predator threat but teenagers or low skill workers or even senior birding volunteers could do this. It is one way to keep the armed forces busy and out of trouble. I think I'll forward it to the Pentagon.

    June 29, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • MrId

      I'll gladly stop staring down this rifle barrel and go stare at birds.

      June 30, 2011 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      It takes an elite team because whoever wrote this article decided that the actual facts weren't exciting enough (or was trying to be funny, which is legitimate I guess). The Austrian media says that they will use young (involuntary) conscripts.

      June 30, 2011 at 4:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. birdy

    I want that job. I could even frown and grimace.

    June 30, 2011 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. birdy

    Will it work on humans you don't like?? Will they go away with me just staring at them. I'm going to try it and get back to you. Beats arguing and threatening. I could just go out and stare at neighbors I don't like or a co-worker who's an idiot. Or maybe couples with unreconcilabel differences. Think of the money saved in lawyer bills.

    June 30, 2011 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
  10. MrId

    Well those lazy storks need to get back to delivering babies. They must be union storks.

    June 30, 2011 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
  11. johnny under the duece

    @Mrid: god that is such a true statement that it's almost not funny, almost.

    June 30, 2011 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  12. Phil Atiao

    MEN WHO STARE AT STORKS-opened for the Grateful Dead on their North American tour 1979. Brent Wood on sax- Mike Corns on harmonica!They were awesome! I saw them in Sacramento and Monterey CA. Duuuuuuuddde.

    June 30, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Lili

      Phil, I am absolutely serious here, but I found your post while trying to find who was opening for the Dead that year. But I can't find any bands by the name you gave. If I hadn't been Googling this I'd think you were just joking, but since I'm dying to know, I have to ask... really? If not, do you know who did open for the Dead that year? You see, I was at the concert but my mother claims she wouldn't let me see the punk opening act because they were too noisy for my toddler ears. I want to know what I missed so I can tease her about it.

      October 1, 2011 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  13. Peter Brusso

    It worked on goats... should work here too. As an original on the whole project, storks should be subject to the same feelings as goats... haha

    July 1, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  14. nubians

    Magnificent web site. Plenty of helpful information here. I'm sending it to several buddies ans additionally sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks to your sweat!

    April 16, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
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