Passengers departing from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport had to wait Wednesday morning as airport officials cleared about 150 turtles from the runway.

The slow-motion stampede began at about 6:45 EDT as the turtles began their long journey across the runway, heading for a sandy beach on the other side so they could lay eggs. JFK borders on Jamaica Bay, in Queens, N.Y. so the turtle crossing is something of an annual event.

The turtles are not the first instance of New York flights contending with wildlife. The city has also initiated a highly controversial program to cut back the wild geese population in order to reduce the threats of the birds being sucked into jet engines. They have natural habitats near both La Guardia Airport in nearby Flushing, N.Y. and at JFK.