how many airplane bird strikes per year

Why does this happen?

It should go without saying that airplanes and birds share our country’s airspace, and that there is a real risk of collision—especially given the rise in both large bird populations and aircraft traffic. Due to their high speed, planes are vulnerable to catastrophic damage from bird collisions, particularly when large birds or flocks of birds fly into the engine or windshield. While bird strikes and airplanes can happen at any time, most happen at low altitudes during takeoff and landing. Many aircraft, particularly commercial jets, fly at higher altitudes than do birds while in flight.

What is the issue?

Airports and air transportation companies have long taken the problem of bird collisions with aircraft very seriously. The estimated percentage of bird deaths annually attributed to collisions between planes and birds is quite low. The main worry is that bird strikes on aircraft could jeopardize the security of air travel.

According to estimates, aircraft strikes by birds and other wildlife cost the United States $900 million. S. civil and military aircraft annually. Furthermore, since 1988, over 250 people have died globally as a result of wildlife strikes, endangering the lives of airline crew members and their passengers.

To help track and analyze wildlife strike incidents, including but not limited to bird strikes, throughout the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) developed a Wildlife Strike Report Database. From 1990 to 2013, 142,675 wildlife strikes were reported, 97 percent of which involved birds.

According to Bird Strike Committee USA, an organization that strives to reduce bird and other wildlife hazards to aircraft, three types of birds represent 75 percent of all reported bird strikes: waterfowl (31 percent), gulls (26 percent) and raptors (18 percent).

A: Yes. Although the majority of aircraft strikes in the United States (US) involve birds, there have also been reports of animal strikes involving deer, coyotes, turtles, skunks, bats, ligators, and iguanas. From 1990 to 2019, coyotes and white-tailed deer were the most frequently hit non-bird species.

A: Pilots and airport staff report the majority of bird strikes. For additional information please visit the FAA Wildlife Strike Database.

A: Approximately 2053 percent of bird strikes happen between July and October, as this is the time when young birds officially leave their nests and migrate south for the fall.

A: Some remains are not preserved or sent to the Smithsonian for analysis. In 2019, 2061% of the remnants from the documented aircraft strikes in the USA were identified to the species level, and an additional 2011% of the remains were identified to the species group.

A lot of the remains are identified at the airports by qualified wildlife biologists. From its remnants, the Feather Identification Laboratory at the Smithsonian Institution can identify a species of bird. Birds can be identified using physical characteristics, feather fragments, and/or DNA analysis, depending on the condition of the remains. Please visit the Feather Identification Lab page at the Smithsonian Institution for more details.


Which airport has the most bird strikes?

Which airports have the most wildlife strikes? Denver International Airport opened in 1995 in the continent’s central flyway for migrating birds, according to online news site Denverite. The airport has the most reports in the wildlife strike database with just over 9,000 through the end of 2022.

Can pilots avoid bird strikes?

Pilots can reduce the risk of encountering birds by following some basic guidelines, such as checking the bird activity reports and advisories before and during the flight, avoiding low-altitude flying over bird habitats or migration routes, and using lights and noise to scare away birds near the runway or in the air.

How often do birds fly in plane engines?

A bird-strike event has been estimated to occur about once in every 2,000 flights, depending on the time of year and flight location. But many events are not reported.

Can planes withstand bird strikes?

2 Bird strike standards For example, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that the windshield of an aircraft can withstand the impact of a four-pound bird at the cruising speed of the aircraft, and that the engines can ingest a bird of a certain size without losing more than 25% of their thrust.