(noun) The remains of a bird after colliding with an aircraft. Snarge is collected and sent to the Smithsonian Institute's Feather Identification Lab for testing and analysis to determine which bird species was involved in the collision, research that can benefit both birds and planes. As data is accumulated about which birds are most frequently involved in aircraft collisions and what damage different birds cause, better methods can be developed for aircraft engineering of protective windscreens, engines and structural elements. Recommendations can also be made for more effective bird conservation measures such as habitat management to prevent bird plane collisions.
The Feather Identification Lab receives approximately 4,000 samples of snarge annually, and each one is thoroughly analyzed to properly identify the bird species involved. A variety of forensic techniques are used to analyze the remains, depending on what parts of the bird have been collected and how much of the bird is remaining. If enough parts are available, the bird may be identified visually by comparing bill size and shape, feather patterns, feet and other remains to existing birds in the Smithsonian Institute's extensive collection. If visual identification cannot be made, microscope feather examination can be helpful, and DNA analysis of blood or tissue can positively identify the species. In many cases, multiple techniques are used to be positive of the identification and to collect as much data as possible.
The research on snarge is useful for all types of aircraft, including military, commercial and private planes and helicopters. All pilots involved with a bird collision are encouraged to submit snarge for analysis; see the Feather Identification Lab's website for submission procedures.
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Photo – Snarge on an Aircraft Wing © flightlog