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Wildlife Strikes at Airports: What are the Contributing Factors?

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In the U.S., less than 20 percent of wildlife strikes are reported, which leaves a large portion of incidents unaccounted for. Although wildlife strikes at airports often go unreported, since

In the U.S., less than 20 percent of wildlife strikes are reported, which leaves a large portion of incidents unaccounted for. Although wildlife strikes at airports often go unreported, since the early 1990's the number of wildlife strikes has increased five-fold and the number of damaging strikes has increased 1.5-fold. Goals for this project include determining if biological and landscape variables are good predictors of wildlife strikes. We define response variables as the number of reported wildlife strikes per 10,000 airport operations. We studied seven major airports around Phoenix, Arizona and 30 large airports in the western U.S. In the Phoenix metro valley, airports varied from having 0.3 strikes per year per 10,000 operations to having 14.5 strikes from 2009 to 2013. We determined bird richness by using the citizen-science database "eBird,"and measured species richness within a 15 kilometer area of each airport. Species richness between hotspots ranged from 131 to 320. Seasonal differences were determined using an analysis of variance (ANOVA) analysis for the seven Phoenix metro airports as well as the 30 western U.S. airports. Our results showed that there was a seasonal difference in wildlife strikes in the majority of our airports. We also used land use data from CAP LTER to determine any environmental factors such as vicinity to water or fence line located within five kilometers from airports using ArcGIS. These results are important because they are helpful in determining the factors influencing wildlife strikes based on the number of strikes reported.

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  • 2015-05