Factors affecting bird strikes on aircraft at a coastal airport

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I examined the species involved in bird strikes on the runways at J. F. Kennedy International Airport, Long Island, New York from 1973 to 1981. One-hundred-and-forty-two strikes were recorded although 1202 carcasses were found on the runways. Gulls Larus accounted for 47% of the pilot-reported strikes and 70% of the carcasses. Most of the other pilot-reported strikes were shorebirds, small passerines, or were unidentified. During the period 49 species were found as carcasses. Other than gulls, ducks (9%), shorebirds (4%) and owls (3%) were most common. Over half of the gull strikes involved herring Larus argentatus, followed by laughing L. atricilla, ring-billed. L. delawarensis and great black-backed L. marinus gulls. Herring and great black-backed gulls were hit less than expected on the basis of their percent occurrence. Young gulls were hit proportionally more often than expected. Bird strikes and carcass counts were highest in 1975, decreased in 1976 and 1977, increased from 1978 through 1980, and decreased in 1981. For all years pilot-reported strike rates were low (usually less than 1 per 10 000 movements) compared to other airports. Pilot-reported strike rates peaked in May and November during the spring and autumn migration although carcass counts were high from May through December. Over 50% of the pilot-reported gull strikes occurred from 0500-0900 h, although non-gull strikes occurred evenly throughout the day, despite the fact that 70% of plane movements occurred after 1300 h. The pattern of pilot-reported strikes is similar to that reported from Canadian airports.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13,16-28
JournalBiological Conservation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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