U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

April 2000


Amsterdam, 17-21 April 2000


Bird-aircraft strike databases have been used to identify, monitor, and manage bird strike problems in the USA nationally and at individual airports. Up to 75% of all bird strikes that occur in the USA may not be reported by pilots or airport control tower personnel. Recent studies have suggested that individual airports may improve their strike reporting rates by having personnel regularly search runways for the remains of birds struck by aircraft. We analyzed a 20-year dataset of runway searches from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFKIA) in New York to determine the degree of bias in reports of strikes at that airport. At JFKIA from 1979 - 1998, strikes were under-reported by an average of 86.8% (P < 0.01), and only 33.9 % (P < 0.01) of bird species struck were reported. The addition of unreported strikes to the local strike database also changed the seasonal distribution of strike rates (P < 0.01). The local database was essential for evaluating the effectiveness of bird control and habitat management programs at the airport. We recommend the use of runway carcass searches to establish or augment local bird strike databases at airports. Information from these databases should be used to help guide the development and evaluate the effectiveness of wildlife hazard management programs for airports worldwide.
JFK International Airport
Risk Assessment
Strike Reporting