The reporting of wildlife strikes has increased 5 percent across the industry recently, according to a report released in May called Trends in Reporting of Wildlife Strikes written for the FAA by Dr. Richard Dolbeer. The report says 47 percent of known wildlife strikes for all civil aviation between 2009 and 2013 were reported to the FAA’s National Wildlife Strike Database. That number is up from the 42 percent of known strikes reported between 2004 and 2008. The new report claims the FAA’s continuing outreach actions with its aviation industry and government partners as one reason for the rising numbers.
The report highlights a decline in the number of damaging strikes, greater reporting of birds of all sizes and a decrease in the number of damaging strikes within the airport environment. Other findings highlight a decrease in the average bird size involved in strikes, as well as an increase in the number of reports identifying the bird species. “The overall number of reported strikes for all aircraft and airport types has increased 6.2 fold from 1,851 in 1990 to a record 11,399 in 2013,” the report noted. “In contrast, the number of strikes indicating damage to the aircraft increased from 340 in 1990 to a peak of 764 in 2000 but has subsequently declined by 21 percent to 605 in 2013.”
Dolbeer’s report concludes that mandatory reporting is not necessary today because there are enough reports being generated to track national trends in wildlife strikes. The report also provides a scientific basis for the FAA to develop policies and guidance to mitigate wildlife strikes; and the reporting process complies with International Civil Aviation Organization standards.