Aircraft bird-strike reports can save lives. New video shows how to report, collect and ship evidence

A new video to help aviators properly conduct and report a bird strike with their aircraft has been posted on YouTube by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services Airport Wildlife Hazard Program and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

“Strikes, Snarge and Safety: Your Guide to Reporting Wildlife Strikes” is a 12-minute video that presents step-by-step instructions on how to collect tissue samples following a bird-aircraft collision, fill-out a strike report and submit the materials to the Smithsonian’s Feather Identification Laboratory at the National Museum of Natural History.

Species identification is an important detail that is often overlooked in bird-strike reports at our nation’s airports. By tracking species details, airport wildlife biologists and managers can develop a specific management plan to reduce hazards at a particular airport.

“Strikes, Snarge and Safety” notes that every strike should get a thorough review by scientists at the Smithsonian’s Feather Identification Lab. The lab has identified 7,660 samples for the civilian aircraft database since 2000 in addition to more than 30,000 samples for military aviation. The video was developed for use by aviators from levels of commercial, general and military aviation.

Prior to the forced landing of US Air Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in January 2009, about 20 percent of bird strikes were reported. Awareness has prompted increased reporting. The USDA’s Wildlife Services, which maintains the strike reporting database for the Federal Aviation Administration, notes that less than half of the reports in past years identify the species involved, information vital to develop methods to reduce the likelihood of strikes. In 2011, the number of strikes identifying the bird to species level reached 54 percent for the first time.

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