A new Advisory Circular from the FAA shows that risks posed to aircraft by wildlife have increased in recent years.
“Improved reporting, studies, documentation, and statistics show that aircraft collisions with birds and other wildlife are a serious economic and public safety problem,” the circular reads. “While many species of wildlife can pose a threat to aircraft safety, they are not all equally hazardous.”
A ranking of animals included in an appendix of the Advisory Circular shows that white-tailed deer are the most hazardous — with 84% of deer strikes causing damage to aircraft.
The rest of the top 10 are birds, with the snow goose coming in at second on the list.
“Brown and white pelicans, black vultures, great egrets, and other waders, as well as several species of waterfowl, raptors, gulls, and shorebirds present a significant hazard to aircraft,” the circular warns.
While most of the wildlife on the ranking are birds, the coyote, red fox, woodchuck, jackrabbit, opossums, and skunks show up towards the bottom of the rankings.
The hazard rankings are designed to help focus hazardous wildlife management efforts that represent the greatest threats to safe air operations at airports, FAA officials note.