Bird Strike Identification

A typical bird strike containing only tissue and blood with no feather fragments for Microscopic or whole-feather comparisons. These types of samples will be the focus of the DNA identification method.

The FAA and the United States Air Force jointly sponsored a 5 year program to develop improved identification techniques for aircraft bird strike remains. The focus of the research was the development of a DNA-based identification for bird strike remains that lack morphological evidence for feather comparisons. Identification via DNA sequencing is the 'gold' standard, but other cheaper and faster methods will likely emerge as a result of the database development.


Work is being conducted by the Smithsonian Institution's Feather Identification Laboratory and has recently been extended through Fiscal Year 2023. Rapid isolation of biological remains in the field is critical, and testing of several user-friendly field collection protocols is being be carried out to determine the highest probability of success.

For more detailed information about this project visit the Smithsonian Institution's Feather Lab page.

For more information on the FAA Wildlife R&D program visit the Official FAA Wildlife R&D website.