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Airport Wildlife Hazards Program

WS works with airport and airfield personnel to reduce wildlife strikes. Wildlife Services (WS), a program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, provides Federal leadership and expertise to resolve wildlife conflicts that threaten public health and safety. Increased air traffic, urban sprawl, enhanced noise suppression on aircraft, and more concentrated populations of birds and other wildlife at or near airports contribute to wildlife strikes.

WS Research on Airport Wildlife Hazards and Management

WS conducts wildlife surveys at airports. National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) scientists conduct research to provide information about reducing bird-aircraft strike hazards to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)  and others. NWRC research is focused on understanding the nature of wildlife hazards at airports, developing management tools to reduce those hazards, and providing WS biologists, airport personnel, and FAA officials with information on the latest strategies for controlling wildlife hazards. >>More

What is a wildlife strike?

Airplane leaving airport. Strikes are when birds or other animals collide with an airplane. This may occur when the airplane is taking off, landing, or while it is in the air. Wildlife strikes have increased in the past 30 years because of a combination of expanding populations of many wildlife species that are hazardous to aviation and increasing numbers of aircraft movements. >>More

Number of Airports Assisted Annually

Management programs may include trapping of raptors. In 2017, WS personnel provided 300 staff-years of assistance at 890 airports (765 civil (including 123 civil-military joint use), and 125 military) in all 50 U.S. States, 3 U.S. Territories, and 9 foreign countries. >> More

National Statistics

Snowy owls may pose hazards to aircraft. WS biologists estimated that technical or direct management assistance resulted in a reduction, suppression, or prevention of wildlife hazards at 635 (71%) of the 890 airports where some type of assistance was provided. This total included 297 (72%) of the 410 “Part 139”-certificated airports assisted. >>More

Statistics by State

Many types of animals may be hazardous to aircraft operations. Managing bird and other wildlife hazards at airports is a complex, public-sensitive endeavor involving many species of wildlife governed by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and other Federal, State and local regulations. Professional biologists trained in wildlife hazard management at airports assess hazards, provide training, and assist in the development of wildlife hazard management plans in and beyond all 50 states. >>More


WS partners with the aviation community to reduce wildlife hazards. In recognition of WS' expertise and accountability, several agencies have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with WS to address wildlife conflicts at airports and military installations. >>More

Wildlife Management Hazards at Airports

WS conducts wildlife surveys at airports to assess hazards. The Wildlife Hazard Management at Airports Program Data Report has been developed to provide the public with information about WS' wildlife damage management activities at airports. >>More

Protecting the Flying Public (PDF)





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