Global environmental challenges
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.
A curious thing is happening at a U.N. meeting in Bonn this week on a new climate pact – countries least interested in a deal such as OPEC members are doing more and more of the talking.
Organisers of the talks have set up a new ”Countdown to Copenhagen” clock in the main hall (above left) to try to spur the sluggish negotiations. It shows 248 days left until the talks in the Danish capital in December.