Bird Strikes Cost Air Force Over $800 Million in Damages

Source: Image: eBird

The Air Force reported that its planes suffered over 100,000 bird strikes since 1995.

Birds are a persistent hazard for aircraft, and few understand the toll bird strikes can have than the Air Force does.

According to the Air Force’s data (via Air Force Times), its planes have suffered 105,586 bird strikes since 1995. Birds have caused. Those accidents led to 13 lost aircraft and 27 fatalities. In addition to the loss of both human and animal life, those collisions amount to a hefty price tag.

Download and Play World of Warships for Free Today

Fight epic naval battles online using the greatest ships in history! New players will receive the HMS Campbeltown, 3 days of premium play, and game currency for free!

How much? Not including the cost of injuries, the birds have cost the Air Force $817,546,884 over the past 24 years.

Bird strikes are all too common and cause immense damage, even death. The Facebook group Air Force amn/nco/snco posted a picture of one earlier this month, showing a dead hawk stuck inside an F-16 based out of the 49th Wing at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.

A dead hawk lodged in an F-16. Source: Air Force amn/nco/snco
A dead hawk lodged in an F-16. Source: Air Force amn/nco/snco

Identified by 49th Wing spokeswoman 2nd Lt. Jasmine Manning as a Swainson’s hawk in an email the Marine Corps Times, the bird struck the jet plane during a routine landing on April 17. Manning said that the bird’s remains were sent to the Smithsonian to classify and figure out how the strike occurred.

The costliest bird strikes come from Canadian geese, and they’re probably the most common. According to the Air Force’s statistics, they alone caused $93.8 million in damages to aircraft between fiscal years 1995 and 2016.

Black vultures take second place for doing the most damage. They’re responsible for almost $75.7 million in damages over the same 21-years. Meanwhile, Pink-footed geese, American white pelicans, and turkey vultures cost the Air Force $43.3 million, $41.8 million and $37.8 million, respectively.


Buffa started covering video games in 2002, right after the Xbox and GameCube launches. To date, he's killed roughly 734,876 aliens and 2,345,976 zombies. Now he turns his attention towards the next generation, where games like Crimson Dragon, Dead Rising 3 and Battlefield 4 will make him thank the virtual gods for the opportunity to cover this constantly evolving industry.