Top ten US airports reporting wildlife-aircraft collisions
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Yearly totals for Memphis, the world's largest cargo airport and the country's 36th busiest passenger airport, ranged from a low of 71 in 2001 to a high of 202 in 2005.Skip to next paragraph
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Through Nov. 30 last year, Memphis logged 174 incidents, including one that caused substantial damage.
Airplane collisions with birds have more than doubled at 13 major U.S. airports since 2000, but bird strikes have actually declined in that period at Dulles International Airport reports Washington's News Channel 8.
Dulles Airport, which is much busier, has had more than 800 reported incidents in that period, of which 16 were of serious concern. In one incident at Dulles, a pilot reported hitting a flock of geese, producing a burning smell in the cabin. The plane safely made an emergency landing.
Meantime, wildlife experts say the problem is growing as more and more birds, particularly large ones like Canada geese, have found the food to live near cities and airports year round rather than migrating.
Airports use noise cannons to scare birds away, lay down rock, and keep an eye out from the tower. They haven't had any fatalities at Dulles or Reagan airports since 2000, but the FAA data show 11 people have died in airplane collisions nationwide with birds or deer since 1990.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the Salt Lake area's largest airport faces unique challenges being located near the southern shore of the Great Salt Lake, which attracts millions of migratory birds each fall and spring. Where bird species were identified, data indicates Utah bird strikes most commonly involved gulls, horned larks, kestrels, and geese.
The Utah director of the US Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services agency said the Salt Lake airport has 'one of the most aggressive' bird-control efforts.
An airport spokesperson said those efforts include extensive "hazing" of birds, including the regular firing of 16 cannons at strategic locations and disrupting of nesting and food sources, trapping and relocating birds, and limited killing of birds that pose persistent problems.
The airport also employs a full-time biologist to monitor bird and other wildlife populations, both on airport grounds and surrounding private lands, said spokeswoman Barbara Gann.
The few Utah wildlife strikes that didn't kill birds were most likely to occur on runways and involve foxes, mule deer and skunks.