In the NYT yesterday, in “Those Hazardous Flying Birds” by Eric Uhlfelder:
Planes hit birds all the time. That doesn’t typically mean captains have to glide crippled jets onto a river as Capt. Chesley Sullenberger III famously did in January 2009. But a number of collisions have led to crashes, with some deaths. … Over the past 23 years, bird strikes have forced an average of one plane a day to land prematurely, according to the F.A.A.
What caught my eye was the N N compound bird strike, with an unusual use of the head noun strike – apparently a metaphorical use in which these collisions were viewed as like military attacks (though now strike seems to have become merely the conventional way of referring to such events).
Uhlfelder’s recommendation for the hazardous bird problem is for “integrated avian radar systems”. Note the Adj N composite avian radar here; avian is an example of a type of non-predicating Adj often referred to as “pseudo-adjectives”; though they are adjectival in form, they are interpreted semantically by invoking a noun, in this case bird. That is, avian radar is bird radar, radar for detecting birds (just as weather radar is radar for detecting weather patterns).
Then there’s marine radar, radar for detecting ships and other objects at sea.