I referred to dictionaries, then concluded that collisions can't be replaced with clash or crash, but I'm not 100% sure my conclusion is right.

Although bird strikes pose a sizable threat to flight safety, the number of major accidents caused due to bird strikes are quite low. The majority of bird strikes do little damage to the affected airplane, but these collisions are almost always fatal to the birds involved in the accident.

What Really Happens When A Bird Hits An Airplane?

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    Clashes is completely unsuitable (it means are not compatible, do not go well together). And crashes is a very poor choice when the specific sentence it occurs in is about the birds getting "shredded" without causing the plane to crash. In short, stick with collisions. Sep 10 at 17:16

Forget 'clash' - that does have a different meaning. It can mean "to collide with a loud, harsh, usually metallic noise", but more often than not it is a deliberate collision. For example, the sound of cymbals is a 'clash', and the same word can describe them being played, ie "the cymbals clashed together". It doesn't usually describe an accidental collision.

A 'crash' is often the same thing as a 'collision' - for example, 'a car crash' or 'a car collision' are both idiomatic ways of referring to an accident involving one or more cars. The two words have distinct meanings though, and both carry different inferences. Sometimes, "collision" is used in a positive way. For example, when two people meet it is sometimes said that "their worlds collided". On the other hand, a car crash would almost certainly mean damage to the car and whatever it collided with - another car, or a tree, for example. If a car collided with a bird it is unlikely that the car would be damaged (although the bird might not fare so well). Bird strikes, as mentioned in your example, are notoriously dangerous for planes because a bird can get into the engine and cause damage to the plane, although your example text is saying that more often than not they are harmless. "Collision" definitely seems to be the best word here because of the varying outcomes that are possible.


As a general rule mobile biological things do not crash but mobile mechanical things do. Biological things are more likely to be described as crashing into something or crashing something else.

The plane crashed when a bird collided with it.

A bird crashed into a plane. (The two things collided.)

A bird crashed a plane. (The plane is what crashed here.)

The cars crashed [together].

The go-cart crashed.

I crashed a go-cart.

I crashed into a dumpster. (Maybe I was walking or maybe I was driving a go-cart.)

A plane crashed into a bird. (Just like biological things mechanical things can also crash into other things.)

If I just say I crashed without supporting context, most people will wonder what I crashed, my vehicle for example, or what I crashed into.

P.S. People can be described as crashing if they are extremely tired and fall asleep but that's a different definition.

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