New Technology For Birds

By: Jill Cordes
By: Jill Cordes
** FILE ** A male whooping crane takes flight over a marsh,   March 26, 2004, near Leesburg, Fla.  The endangered birds may face a new threat from the surge in wind farm construction according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

** FILE ** A male whooping crane takes flight over a marsh, March 26, 2004, near Leesburg, Fla. The endangered birds may face a new threat from the surge in wind farm construction according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Radar technology used by the Air Force and NASA is now being used for wind farms. This to help prevent fatal collisions between birds and clean energy generating turbines.

Concern has been raised regarding two competing environmental interests: taking action against climate change and protecting wildlife. The radar system is a kind of air traffic control system. And relatively cheap to install and maintain.

The system detects migrating birds up to four miles away, analyzes weather conditions, then calculates whether the birds will fly dangerously close to the rotating blades. If so, the turbines are programmed to shut down. They automatically restart once the birds have safely passed.

Some conservationists are skeptical. They say wind farms shouldn't be built in migration routes in the first place. The wind industry says it puts wind farms away from major migratory routes whenever possible.

These radar systems are another important step toward reducing bird collisions while scaling up clean wind production.


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