Date of this Version
Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2471, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C., 2015, pp. 19–25. DOI: 10.3141/2471-03
A primary concern for human–wildlife interactions is the potential impacts resulting from wildlife (primarily birds) collisions with aircraft. The identification of species responsible for collisions with aircraft is necessary so that airport management can develop effective strategies to reduce strikes with those species. Of particular importance in developing such strategies is the identification of regional, seasonal, and temporal patterns in collisions with unidentified bird species that may limit the effectiveness of regional habitat management to reduce bird strikes. The authors analyzed 105,529 U.S. civil aviation strike records from 1990 to 2012 in the FAA’s National Wildlife Strike Database to examine patterns of collisions involving unidentified birds. Factors that affected identification were airport certification class, FAA region, mass of struck species, state species richness (if damage was reported), and interactive effects between the last four factors. Identification varied by region and declined with increasing species richness; this identification was greater for general aviation (GA) airports and the mass of struck species, especially when damage was reported. Species identification might be improved by increasing reporting efforts relative to species richness, especially by GA airport managers and operations staff, who may have a higher propensity of reporting bird strikes, and by collecting more fieldbased data on avian populations. The results can provide guidance for the development of airport management and personnel training.