Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

September 1966


The Canadian Wildlife Service has had twenty-five years experience with the problem caused by bird contacts with aircraft. I experienced my first bird strike, while flying as an observer on a waterfowl survey in August, 1940. Officers of the Service investigated bird problems at airports at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and Cartierville, Quebec, in the late 1940's. Those incidents involving gulls and low speed piston-engined aircraft caused minor damage to the aircraft but considerable disturbance to the operators. As aircraft speeds increased and airports became more numerous and busier the problem increased in extent and complexity. By 1960 it was apparent that the problem would grow worse and that work should be directed toward reducing the number of incidents. In 1960 an electra aircraft crashed at Boston, Massachusetts, killing 61 passengers. Starlings were involved in the engine malfunction which preceded the crash. In November, 1962 a viscount aircraft was damaged by collision with two swans between Baltimore and Washington and crashed with a loss of 17 lives. Those incidents focused attention on the bird hazard problem in the United States.