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This Device May Save Birds Endangered By Wind Energy Towers


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Though wind energy is becoming more popular all the time, and surpassing expectations for its energy-producing capabilities, there are still some drawbacks that attract opposition. For nature lovers, a fear of the possible consequences of giant towers going up in the flight path of beloved birds has been a huge issue. Popular Science reports that researchers at the College of William & Mary have come up with an innovative device to warn birds of an approaching obstacle as they fly. The Acoustic Lighthouse warns flying birds to swerve out of the way, potentially saving thousands a year.

Biologist John Swaddle spoke to the issue at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, saying, "There’s a lot of interest in developing near-shore or offshore wind energy. Putting large, rotating structures that look like mincemeat-makers in the sky isn’t going to be good for the birds."

There is some debate about how many birds are killed through collisions with turbines every year; Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke claimed the number to be about 750,000, but that was proved to be false. It's closer to 350,000, which is still too many for biologists and bird watchers.