‘Air dancers’ keep eagles safe

CORVALLIS, Ore. (KGW) – Oregon is home to more than 1,000 wind turbines. The clean, green alternatives to fossil fuel may be great for the environment, but pose a big risk factor for birds flying nearby.

Studies have shown that wind turbines kill hundreds of thousands of birds every year, some of those being endangered eagles.

“The speed at the tip of the blade is about 200 miles per hour, so it can be very, very dangerous to flying animals,” says Roberto Albertani, a researcher at Oregon State University.

Roberto and his team have come up with a way to keep the eagles safe. They mount special cameras to the wind turbines that detect when an eagle is flying nearby, once detected the camera sends a signal to a computer which in turn triggers a mechanism to scare the bird away.

However, scaring an eagle away isn’t as easy as it sounds. Roberto and his team discovered that eagles have an aversion to humans. Since using a human to divert birds from flying into the turbines wasn’t an option, they turned to giant inflatable tube men, better known as “air dancers.”

A simple, yet effective solution that will save eagle’s lives as wind energy grows.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2HLQRtz

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