Fan blades of JT8D aircraft engine after a bird strike. Plenumchamber/Wikimedia
From 1990 to March 2016, 170,613 aircraft encounters with animals were reported involving more than 822 different species.
The Mourning Dove
Aer Lingus Airbus A330 landing at JFK. joepriesaviation.net
There have been 74,849 strikes from small, medium and large unidentified bird species. The third most common species type strike is the mourning dove, with 7,652 strikes.
Pet owners who live near airports may want to keep their pets inside, and animal lovers might want to skip this report: 31 domesticated cats and 45 domesticated dogs have been struck by aircraft.
The Wooded Wildlife
Five moose have been struck, four of them damaging aircraft, while 1,016 white-tail deer have been hit, registering at about 194 lb. each. In addition, 648 turkey vultures have been reported struck by aircraft as well.
The largest reported species reported struck by an aircraft was an American Black bear, weighing 440 lb. There was no reported weight for the moose. The next largest was an "alligator snapping turtle" at half the weight (220 lb.).
Airport Reporting Numbers
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport/ Tom Walsh/Wikimedia
There have been a total of 105,496 reported bird strikes at 1,771 airports since 2006, and about 10% were with unidentified animal species.
Top 5 U.S. Airports by Strikes
Aerial view of airport in 2002 during runway construction. Wikimedia
The top five U.S. airports at which bird strikes have occurred are: Denver International Airport (3,972 strikes), Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (3,290 strikes), Chicago O’Hare International Airport (2,108 strikes), John F. Kennedy International Airport (1,903 strikes) and Memphis International Airport in Tennessee (1,864 strikes).
Detroit Metro Wayne County Airport saw a 315% strike increase in one year, from 78 strikes in 2014 to 246 in 2015.
How Bird Strikes Impact
Inside of a jet engine after bird strike. Ekki01/Wikimedia
In early October, Inside MRO reported on how bird strikes impact engines, noting that engine removal is required in 5% of bird strikes, but the most frequently struck aircraft components are the windshield (16% of the time) and the nose (12% of the time).
Report The Strike
COPA Boeing 737 hit by birds at JFK. joepriesaviation.net
You can report a strike in 5 min. online, using the FAA’s form. The form is completely voluntary, but the FAA does ask that you submit (if possible) the bird for remains identification. This information is used for wildlife management programs.
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! . . . Oh, no! In just 26 years, more than 170,000 aircraft encounters with animals have been reported in the U.S., 97% of which are bird strikes. See the FAA’s Species Information Table and Strikes by Airport information broken down by top species.