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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Soldiers told to stare at storks

Troops ordered to scare away storks from an airport have been banned from using their guns and told to stare at the birds instead.

Soldiers were brought in over fears the colony of 25 storks would disrupt the Airpower 2011 air show in Zeltweg, Austria, this weekend.

Organisers had tried to lure them away with bait, by creating better feeding grounds further away and even putting up plastic storks to make it seem more attractive elsewhere - but without success.

Experts, who fear a stork could bring down a plane if it was sucked into an engine, confirmed soldiers had been told not to shoot the birds but to stare at them instead.

And local environmentalist Siegfried Prinz, who is helping to organise the troops for "operation stork", confirmed it was no joke.

He said: "The troops have been observing the area and finding out where the storks seems to like to go to feed - they then turn up and engage them in eye contact."

"The policy is unsettling them and they have started to move away just in time. Being stared at actually intimidates the storks more than the sound of a gun or other explosive device."

A total of 24 soldiers are working on Operation Stork between 5am and 10pm.

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