Date of this Version
Drey, K.M., J.A. Martin, J.L. Belant, T.L. DeVault, B.F. Blackwell. 2014. Interactions between wildlife and civil aircraft in Mississippi. Southeastern Naturalist 13(1): 156-165.
Collisions between aircraft and wildlife have increased markedly since first recorded in 1905. These strikes threaten human safety and cost the United States civil aviation industry >$677 million annually. We examined the Federal Aviation Administration’s national wildlife strike database records from 1990–2010 to characterize reported strikes with civil aircraft in Mississippi. We hypothesized that daily foraging patterns and seasonal differences would affect strike frequency for birds. We summarized 381 reported strikes (366 birds, 14 mammals, and 1 reptile) comprising > 42 species. Bird strikes per 1000 aircraft operations (take-off and landing counted as separate operations) increased between 1990 2010. The monthly number of reported strikes per 1000 operations peaked July–September, coinciding with late breeding season and fall migration. Bird strikes per 1000 operations occurred more often during runway approach than during take-off, and more often at dusk than during other times of day. These patterns mirrored nationally observed wildlife-strike patterns. Our results may aid airport biologists in Mississippi to prioritize species management and more effectively implement timing and types of animal control efforts.