Skunks And Seagulls Have Been Hit By Planes At Ottawa Airport

A report filed with Transport Canada shows that on Tuesday, July 14th, a skunk was struck and killed at Ottawa International Airport. The aircraft involved was a WestJet Boeing 737, which was landing after a flight from Toronto Pearson International Airport. Reports show that this is just the latest in a series of wildlife encounters at Macdonald–Cartier International Airport in Ottawa.

WestJet 737
Several animal-strikes have been recorded this year at Ottawa’s airport. Photo: Getty Images

Details of the most recent animal strike

The incident was reported on Transport Canada’s CADORS, also known as the ‘Civil Aviation Daily Occurrence Reporting System.’

The report shows that the incident took place on July 14th at night – 22:12 to be specific. The aircraft involved was a WestJet 737-700 with registration C-GWBJ performing flight WS374 from Toronto. This is what was entered into CADORS:

A WestJet Boeing 737-7CT (C-GWBJ/WJA374) from Toronto/Lester B. Pearson, ON (CYYZ) to Ottawa/Macdonald-Cartier, ON (CYOW) reported hitting a small animal upon landing on Runway 07. Skunk remains were found on the runway. No impact to operations.

The CADORS database lists 92 skunk strikes at Canadian airports in the past 20 years, with seven of these reported at Ottawa Airport. Photo: US Air Force 

More animal strikes at Ottawa airport

According to CTV News Ottawa, there have been several animal strikes at Ottawa airport already this year. In fact, a seagull was killed by an aircraft earlier this month. The incident took place on July 9th and involved a Sky Regional Airlines plane from Toronto. The crew reported a possible bird strike during rollout on Runway 07. The airport crew subsequently found a dead seagull on the runway.

Furthermore, over three weeks ago, two dead birds were found on the runway at the airport. The suspicious aspect of this discovery was that no birdstrikes were reported by any aircraft.

Seagulls are a common problem for many airports around the world. Photo: Pixabay

Going further back, on March 2nd, an Air Canada Airbus A320 departing for Toronto reported a possible bird strike. However, nothing was found on the runway.

It’s not just birds and skunks causing issues for pilots at the Ottawa International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A far more bizarre and potentially dangerous incident took place on June 5th, when the pilot of a privately registered Cessna 150G reported seeing a deer near the runway threshold just before takeoff. However, the report subsequently filed says that no animal was found.

Why Ottawa?

Many airports around the world are on the edge of major cities, some bordering rural and uninhabited areas. This mitigates noise complaints from residents.

While Canada’s capital city is large, its airport is about 12km outside of the city, surrounded by forests, fields, and two golf courses. These areas would undoubtedly be prime locations for wildlife habitats – creating the potential for animal-aircraft interactions.

What is the strangest animal-aircraft encounter you have ever heard of? Let us know in the comments!

Ottawa Airport was contacted for comment. However, at the time of publication, no response was received from the airport. We will update this article if any additional information is obtained.