As always, the “Just for Fun Avian ID Quiz” is brought to you by Jory Langner, our esteemed Avian Quizmaster.

Boy oh boy, what a quiz.  As soon as I sent it to Corey for processing (thanks Corey!), out comes an email from the CayugaBirds listserv with the same exact question.  I guess Cayugans read the NY Times as well as my family does.  Hopefully this didn’t spoil any fun you might have had.

To recap, I was looking for a word, a date and a rumor.  Here are the clues for those of you who forgotten already!

  1. Yes, it is an avian topic.
  2. Potentially it relates to all bird species, although I suspect that it has been limited to just certain species.
  3. An event has been in the US news recently which relates to this term.  This event could happen most places in the world.
  4. This has nothing to do with the US presidential inauguration, the Illinois governor or any US Senate seats.
  5. It is one word.
  6. It is sometimes created in the air.
  7. I’ve read that the Smithsonian Institution receives about a dozen packages of this each day.
  8. If known by 10,000 Birds bloggers Corey, Mike and Charlie, I suspect they would have used it in a blog post.  But I couldn’t find it.
  9. Death and heroism.

Congratulations to everyone who responded, and correctly I might add: Patrick, Will, John and Shanth.  A Bronx cheer to Corey who asked me for the answer.

The answers are:

THE WORD: Snarge

Snarge is the goo left over when an airplane collides with a bird.  Not a word to discuss over breakfast.

THE DATE of the recent news event: January 15, 2009.

The date is of the wonderful landing in the Hudson River after the plane took off from La Guardia Airport and then hit a bird.  Last I looked, the bird species was not yet identified from the DNA or the feathers of the snarge.  Some birders have speculated that it was Brant.

THE RUMOR: the wet trail a snail leaves behind.  Special thanks to Patrick, who gets bonus points for providing, ahem, yet an additional definition to the word “snarge”.  This being a family-oriented website, I won’t divulge that other definition [ed. note: the alternate definition is hilarious!].

One additional “fact” that I discovered while writing this post … Microsoft Word does not recognize the word “snarge”.  It prefers “snare”.

Written by Jory
Jory's first field guide-identified bird was a Northern Cardinal. This turned out to be his gateway drug into birding. In 2007 Jory became the least accomplished birder to see 300 birds in New York State in one year. He has birded the world over but maintains his birding "beginner mind", of which he is inordinately proud. Just ask him. Jory is the 10,000 Birds Avian Quizmaster, coming up with ever more diabolical ways to stump his legion of devoted fans. He lives with his wife and the possessions of his children just outside of Albany NY.