Global environmental challenges
Saving birds from power lines, wind turbines?
By my count there are at least two dozen dead white storks in this photo taken in Saudi Arabia after they flew into the power lines — part of a wider problem in which millions of birds die every year by flying into obstacles put up by people.
This weekend, May 9-10, thousands of people around the world are marking a U.N.-backed “Migratory Bird Day” (yes, it’s a long day) with a theme about “Barriers to Migration” — such as buildings, wind turbines, power lines and fences.
It’s easy to see how birds might fly by accident into thin wires like those above south of Jeddah but harder to understand why they slam into enormous buildings — some, apparently, may be flying towards what they think is the safety of a tree and end up crashing into a window in which the tree is reflected.
And the blades of wind turbines spin at up to 200 km (125 miles) per hour, making them all but invisible.
“It is estimated that bird-strike due to collisions with man-made structures is responsible for the deaths of many millions of birds worldwide every year,” a statement from the organisers says.
And the obstacles come in addition to problems for birds such as clearing of forests or woodlands for farmland and desertification linked to climate change.
Among recommendations are siting power lines, communications masts, turbines etc away from migratory routes or out of valleys or wetlands where many birds congregate.
Do you have any other good ideas?
(Picture credit above: Abdullah Alsuhainbany, via the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement, which initiated World Migratory Bird Day)