Date of this Version
The results of 149 surveys of bird species’ distribution and abundance at Melbourne Airport between January 1997 and June 2000, together with local weather information and bird-strike data were used to assess the comparative importance of a number of variables affecting the incidence of bird-strikes at the airport. At least 36 bird and bat species were involved in ‘bird-strikes’ at Melbourne Airport between 1986 and 2000, although only 11 species were involved in 10 or more incidents. The Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) presents the greatest threat of bird-strikes at Melbourne. Bird abundance and activity are important factors in determining the incidence of bird-strikes. The greatest frequency of bird-strikes occurred during autumn (April–May), which is the season when the greatest numbers of birds are at the airport. The incidence of bird-strike is greatest between 08:00 and 12:00, apparently reflecting bird activity levels rather than aircraft traffic volume. The majority of bird-strikes occurred at ‘zero feet’ altitude and within a comparatively small area of the airport, which has important implications for the management of bird hazards. An unexpected finding was that the incidence of birdstrikes increased during days with strong winds (50–60 km/h). Local weather conditions play an important role in determining the risk of bird-strike, and this relationship needs further investigation.