Yesterday a plane that had taken off from New York City was forced to make an emergency water landing shortly after take off. The reason given? "Bird-strike" on both engines minutes after takeoff. It seems quite likely that the cause was truly a collision between a flock of birds and the plane. But does it really make sense to call it "bird-strike?" Canada Geese, the type of bird mostly likely to have been involved, fly about 40 mph. The takeoff speed of an Airbus 320 is 170mph, its cruising speed above 500mph, and the plane was presumably somewhere between these two speeds when the collision happened. So the plane was probably going five to ten times as fast as the birds.
So saying that the birds "slammed into the plane" as some news sources have done is akin to saying, "the pedestrians slammed into the speeding tanker truck." The birds were relatively stationary and the plane plowed through them. All the humans survived. The birds got the worst of it. Not to imply that the people on the plane were at fault. Perhaps the pilot's instruments don't even register anything as small and dispersed as a flock of geese. But really, does it make sense to blame the geese?