The word ‘snarge’ is a new one on me. I heard it on the radio, after that plane swooshed into the Hudson river last week.Â ‘Snarge’ is what’s left of a bird after it strikes an airplane and gets the engine treatment. You know, guts and feathers.
Just for kicks, I pulled out the Merriam-Webster’s for clarification, but there is nothing in that dictionary between ‘snarf’ and ‘snark.’ (In case you’re wondering, to snarf is to gobble up, eat quickly, like when my dog Oliver snarfed up a batch of lemon bars the other day. And ‘snark’ is defined as “a fabulous animal,” which is definitely not what I called my dog when I discovered the lemon bar snarfage.)
I did learn from other sources that there’s this whole Snarge Department (who knew?) at the Smithsonian (well, actually they’re called the Avian Remains Think Tank or something) that receives about 4000 samples of snarge a year, leftovers fromÂ bird-meets-plane incidents. They analyze it to determine which kind of bird got pulverized. They can then advise airports to make adjustments, like move the pond that’s to the left of runway 32 because it attracts flocks of horned larks, who are serial strikers.
I also learned (okay, it was a slow day) that there are shocking bird strike tests being conducted. Testers shoot a chicken out of a cannon at a jet engine at close range, to see what damage the chicken inflicts. Hello? (Well, this was on the internet, so who knows.)
While we’re on the subject, the term ‘bird strike’ seems unfair. It makes the bird sound like a tiny terrorist. I mean, come on, when a plane engine chews up a horned lark, who’s striking whom? These and other gory thoughts are what spin my worldâ€¦.