Turtles crossing runway cause New York flight delays

NEW YORK,  (Reuters Life!) – Flights at John F.  Kennedy International Airport were delayed shortly yesterday  when about 150 diamondback terrapin turtles were spotted  crossing a runway, authorities said.

The reptiles were trying to get to the other side of the  runway to lay eggs on the sandy shores of the Jamaica Bay  Wildlife Refuge, which borders the airport.

Ron Marsico, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York  and New Jersey, which oversees operation of the region’s  airports, pilots from Jet Blue and other airlines halted their  flights to let the expectant reptiles pass.

“Flight delays attributed to turtles were minor, about 15  minutes or so,” he said.

Port Authority staff rushed out to the tarmac where,  between takeoffs and landings, they scooped up the turtles and  helped them on their way.

Naturalists said the 185-acre Jamaica Bay may be the  diamondback’s most popular breeding ground in North America.

“It happens every year at about this time. It’s the great  migration, and this is the peak of the season,” he said.

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