With the increasing global development of wind energy, collision risk models (CRMs) are routinely used to assess the potential impacts of wind turbines on birds. We reviewed and compared the avian collision risk models currently available in the scientific literature, exploring aspects such as the calculation of a collision probability, inclusion of stationary components e.g. the tower, angle of approach and uncertainty. 10 models were cited in the literature and of these, all included a probability of collision of a single bird colliding with a wind turbine during passage through the rotor swept area, and the majority included a measure of the number of birds at risk. 7 out of the 10 models calculated the probability of birds colliding, whilst the remainder used a constant. We identified four approaches to calculate the probability of collision and these were used by others. 6 of the 10 models were deterministic and included the most frequently used models in the UK, with only 4 including variation or uncertainty in some way, the most recent using Bayesian methods. Despite their appeal, CRMs have their limitations and can be ‘data hungry’ as well as assuming much about bird movement and behaviour. As data become available, these assumptions should be tested to ensure that CRMs are functioning to adequately answer the questions posed by the wind energy sector.