Useful Information for Airport Wildlife Managers

FREE Bird Strike DNA Testing: Transport Canada Pilot Project

Transport Canada is undertaking a new pilot project investigating the relevance of DNA identification for unidentifiable bird remains found after bird strikes.

For the first three months of 2021 (January 1st to March 31st), airports will be able to send any unidentifiableremains, free of charge, to Guelph University’s Biodiversity lab for DNA identification.

Please do not send intact bird remains.

 All certified airports will be receiving a DNA sampling kit directly from Transport Canada in the coming weeks. If additional sampling kits are required, they can be requested from Transport Canada ( or directly from Guelph University (

If you find unidentifiable remains at your airport, please take the following steps:

  1. Collect the sample as per the instructions in the DNA kits
  2. Mail the sample and form to:

Attn: Canadian Bird Strike Services

Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, University of Guelph

50 Stone Road East, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1

DNA results will be provided to both the organization which submitted the remains, as well as directly to Transport Canada. We look forward to the results. Any feedback or comments on this pilot project are welcome.


Devon Harris

Wildlife Management, Aerodrome Standards

Transport Canada / Transports Canada

Place de Ville (AARTA), Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N8


Report All Wildlife Strikes

All airports in Canada are required to report strikes to Transport Canada. We urge airports to report strikes to Transport Canada as soon as possible in case additional information is required. Strikes can be reported by clicking on the picture below.

Bird Strike Canada encourages the use of a slightly modified version of the bird strike definition in CARS 302.303.

Confirmed Strike (must be reported as a “strike” to Transport Canada)

  • Any reported wildlife strike where evidence in the form of a carcass, remains, blood or damage to the aircraft is found;
  • When dead or injured wildlife are found within 60 m (200 ft) of a runway or taxiway unless another cause of death can be confirmed;
  • when a pilot reports a strike and is convinced to have hit an animal.

Unconfirmed/Possible Strike (must be reported as a “strike” to Transport Canada)

  • Any reported wildlife strike where no evidence is found (i.e., when a pilot “thinks” the plane struck an animal, or may have struck an animal, but no evidence is found).

Near Miss/Close Call (may be reported to Transport Canada as “near miss”)

  • Any reported or observed occurrence where wildlife was in the airspace of an aircraft and posed a risk of collision, but no collision occurred.

Note that dead birds found along the approach/departure ends of the runway but more than 60 m from the runway ends are likely to be strikes that occurred at higher altitudes and should be considered as strikes unless other causes of death can be confirmed.

Adverse Effect Event (these may or may not be strike events, but are caused by aircraft-wildlife interactions and are typically the most serious consequences of those interactions)

  • Damage to aircraft
  • Engine Ingestion
  • Obscured vision
  • Smoke in cabin
  • Missed approach
  • Precautionary Landing
  • Emergency Landing
  • Rejected Takeoff (at speed)
  • Evasive action to avoid strike

Bird Hazard Ranking System

Adapted from Transport Canada – Safety above all.

Essential Papers for Airport Wildlife Managers

Below is a list of papers we consider to be essential reading for airport wildlife managers. They are all available in our Zotero e-library which is available upon request to all BSAC members. Go here to request access, or here to join BSAC.

  1. Anonymous. n.d. Aviation Handbook.
  2. Blokpoel, H. 1976. Bird Hazards to Aircraft.  Problems and Prevention of Bird/Aircraft Collisions. Clarke, Irwin & Company Limited in association with the Canadian Wildlife saervice and Publishing Centre, Supply and Services Canada.
  3. Bomford, M., and P.H. O’Brien. 1990. “Sonic Deterrents in Animal Damage Control: A Review of Device Tests and Effectiveness.” Wildlife Society Bulletin 18: 411–22.
  4. Both, I., H. van Gasteren, and A. Dekker. 2010. “A Quantified Species Specific Bird Hazard Index.” In Proceedings of the International Bird Strike Committee, IBSC29:17. WP-01. Cairns, Australia.
  5. Civil Aviation Authority. 2006. “CAP 680 Birdstrike Risk Management.” London, England: UK Civilian Aviation Authority.
  6. Civil Aviation Authority. 2008. “CAP 772 Birdstrike Risk Management for Aerodromes.” Norwich, UK: UK Civilian Aviation Authority Safety Regulation Group.
  7. Civil Aviation Authority. 2014. “Wildlife Hazard Management at Aerodromes.” Aerodrome Standards Department, Safety Regulation Group, Gatwick Airport South, West Sussex, UK.
  8. Cleary, E., and A. Dickie. 2010. “Guidebook for Addressing Aircraft/Wildlife Hazards at General Aviation Airports.” ACRP Report 32. Airport Cooperative Research Program ACRP Report. Federal Aviation Administration.
  9. Cleary, E., and R.A. Dolbeer. 2005. Wildlife Hazard Management at Airports: A Manual for Airport Personnel. Second Edition. Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  10. Desoky, A.E.S.S. 2014. “Strategies of Rodent Control Methods at Airports.” Global Journal of Science Frontier Research: C Biological Science 14 (2): 7.
  11. DeVault, T.L., M.J. Begier, J.L. Belant, B.F. Blackwell, R.A. Dolbeer, J.A. Martin, T.W. Seamans, A. Washburn, and B.E. Washburn. 2013. “Rethinking Airport Land-Cover Paradigms: Agriculture, Grass, and Wildlife Hazards.” Human–Wildlife Interactions 7 (1): 10–15.
  12. Harris, R.E., and R.A. Davis. 1998. “Evaluation of the Efficacy of Products and Techniques for Airport Bird Control.” TP2193. Ottawa, Ontario: Aerodrome Safety Branch, Transport Canada.
  13. International Civil Aviation Organization. 2020. “Airport Services Manual: Part 3 — Wildlife Hazard Management.” FIFTH EDITION. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: International Civil Aviation Organization.
  14. Jackson, J. 2001. “Understanding Bird-Strike Potential: Niche Concepts, Birds, Airports.” In Bird Strike Committee-USA/Canada Joint Annual Meeting, 3:243–53. Calgary, Alberta.
  15. Jacoby, V.E. 1977. “Plane as a Deterrent and Attractant.” In Proceedings of the Bird Strike Committee Europe, 12:6. WP15. Paris, France.
  16. Kelly, T.C., R. Bolger, M.J.A. O’Callaghan, and P.D. Bourke. 2001. “Seasonality of Bird Strikes: Towards a Behavioural Explanation.” In Bird Strike Committee-USA/Canada Joint Annual Meeting, 3:205–8. Calgary, Alberta.
  17. Meeking, D.N. 1998. “Bird-Aircraft Strike Hazards: An Overview of the Risks, Costs and Management.” TP13272E. Montreal, Quebec: Transportation Development Centre, Safety and Security, Transport Canada.
  18. Milsom, T. 1990. “The Use of Bird Strike Statistics to Monitor the Hazard and Evaluate Risk on UK Civil Aerodromes.” In Proceedings of the Bird Strike Committee Europe, 20:303–20. WP30. Helsinki, Finland.
  19. Thorpe, J. 1972. “Analysis of Bird Strikes.” In Proceedings of the Bird Strike Committee Europe, 7:19. 2.12. London, England.

Rediscovering Leadership – BSAC White Paper

Canada was recognized as a leader in the field of bird-hazards-to-aircraft management as early as the 1960s, long before this subject was on most countries’ radars. We continued to be among the world’s leaders in this field as recently as the end of the last century. Sadly, we have lost this position in recent years and now the industry is asking for more and better guidance.

In 2017 the Bird Strike Association of Canada (BSAC) wrote a White Paper outlining aviation safety concerns due to inadequate airport wildlife management largely due to lax regulations (CARs). We submitted this paper to the Minister of Transport who decided to ignore our recommendations. While the government may believe that their regulations are adequate, recent court rulings indicate that both the regulator and the airport may incur liability in the event of a damaging accident if appropriate measures are not undertaken regardless of whether the “low bar” of regulations have been met. “Appropriate measures” go well beyond Canada’s regulations with respect to wildlife management.

The BSAC will continue to work with our member and non-member airports and other industry representatives to encourage airports to voluntarily adopt higher standards of airport wildlife management. A recent poll of membership showed an overwhelming support for the objectives of the White Paper amongst respondents. We encourage you to read the White Paper and decide for yourself. The future work of the BSAC will be towards decreasing the safety gap identified in the White Paper through improved training standards, wildlife plan review, and working with airports to determine how hazard identification and monitoring can be improved.

Join with us to rediscover the leadership role Canada once played and become an active industry member to improve safety at Canadian airports through better wildlife management practices. We can do this through a bottom up approach where individual airports and airport professionals voluntarily agree to higher standards of performance. This will have an impact on airlines and other aviation users of airports who demand (or should demand) the highest level of diligence required to minimize the risk of adverse effect events due to wildlife. This will also minimize your liability. We all want the greatest degree of safety reasonably possible. BSAC will work with you to make that wish a reality.

Safely Using Lasers for Bird Scare