Airplanes using airports in Sacramento, Calif., Kansas City, Mo., and Denver are the most likely to hit birds while landing or taking off. NPR used the Federal Aviation Administration’s recently released bird-strike data to calculate airports’ “strike rate”—the percentage of planes that collided with birds relative to the total number of planes flying in and out.
New York’s JFK topped list of incidents causing damage to aircraft, with Sacramento, Fort Myers, Fla., Kansas City and Orlando rounding out the top five. However, because wildlife strike reporting is voluntary, officials believe that the problem is significantly under-reported. A separate study found that only an estimated 20% of strikes occurring in 1991-2004 were reported.