More than 150 bird strikes — collisions between birds and airplanes — at civilian or military airports were recorded last year, and the number of cases involving birds of prey has increased, an aviation safety group said yesterday.
Statistics compiled by the Flight Safety Foundation--Taiwan show that there were 159 bird strikes last year, 18 incidents more than in 2010, and the highest number in four years, during which period more than 100 cases were reported annually.
A total of 28 of the 159 bird strikes caused damage to the planes, the foundation said.
Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport recorded the highest number of bird strikes each year, with 64 incidents last year, the foundation said.
The number of cases involving birds of prey is increasing, the foundation said, adding that airport authorities in Taoyuan have reported planes being hit by nighthawks, ospreys, serpent eagles and Asian crested goshawks, for a number of years.
Taoyuan airport is close to a military airport that has a pond within its area, the foundation said, adding that the pond and construction work at Taoyuan airport provided a perfect habitat for birds to breed.
Problems occur at night when the birds are attracted by the bright lights of the neighboring international airport.
Taichung Airport is near farmland and also attracts a lot of birds, the foundation said.
Over the past two years, the black-winged kite has become a potential threat to air traffic at the airport.
Taipei International Airport in the city’s Songshan District (松山) is a small airport and is not as ideal as other airports in terms of bird habitat, but migrant doves have become a worry for planes’ safety. The foundation attributed the growing number of bird strikes to over---development, which has resulted in the destruction and disappearance of birds’ natural habitats.