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


Date of this Version



Proc. 28th Vertebr. Pest Conf. (D .M. Woods, Ed.) Published at Univ. of Calif., Davis. 2018. Pp. 152-157


The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) National Wildlife Strike Database (NWSD) documents reports of civil aircraft collisions with wildlife in USA. The NWSD has been managed by the Wildlife Services Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture through an interagency agreement since its inception. Although the NWSD includes about 170,000 reports of civil aircraft collisions with wildlife (97% birds) from 1990-2015 (14,000 in 2015), the overriding focus has been the quality control of data entered for over 90 variables ranging from species and numbers of wildlife struck, location and time of day, phase and height of flight, aircraft type, components struck and damaged, effect of strike on flight, and associated costs. This attention to detail allows the NWSD to be used in multiple ways to document the nature of the problem temporally and spatially for individual airports and nationwide. The NWSD is used by individual airports and FAA Airport Certification Inspectors to help objectively evaluate and improve Wildlife Hazard Management Plans by examining adverse-effect strike rates (number/100,000 aircraft movements) and the species causing those damaging strikes. The NWSD provides supportive evidence and guidance to state and federal agencies for issuing permits for wetland mitigation and removal of wildlife at airports. Nationally, the NWSD provides a science-based foundation for FAA regulations and Advisory Circulars related to wildlife management at airports and airworthiness standards for engines and aircraft components. In addition, the NWSD provides unique opportunities for basic research on topics such as bird migration (height and location of strikes) and bird behavior in relation to aircraft lighting. For example, recent research has shown that birds are more likely to strike the left side of aircraft where red navigation lights are located. The NWSD is a living document, continuously refined with new and revised strike events to enable improvements to aviation safety in an environmentally responsible, science-based manner.