28.5.12

The One Where Da-da Shows How to Stop Wind Turbines From Killing Birds

"I mean, you're not helping. Why is that, Leon?"
"Well, those blades keep whacking me, 'cause I can't see 'em."
"Oh. Sorry."

Da-da's oldest, Nagurski, loves birds. He was just reading about how giant wind turbines were killing birds all over the place and no one knows what to do about it. Well, Da-da knows what to do:

Paint the giant blades with ultraviolet paint.

Sure. Why do birds never fly into spider webs? Because they can see into the ultraviolet end of the spectrum, and spider webs GLOW in birds' eyes. Some companies even make ultraviolet-colored fake spider webs to put on your windows to keep the birds from smacking into them. So, simply scale this up and paint the turbine blades with ultraviolet paint and turn the turbines back on and everyone's happy. A bird will fly near the turbine and basically see the equivalent of a huge glowing dinner plate spinning in the air and the bird will say, "WHOA! A HUGE GLOWING SPINNING THING! I BETTER NOT FLY INTO THAT!" And suddenly, the world is a better place for birds and the environment and all the choirs let loose and The Cabal goes to jail and none of us have to pay taxes or our mortgages ever again. You know, a Happy Place.

If someone somewhere wants to thank Da-da for this helpful suggestion, feel free to contribute to his boys' college fund. And now, on to the problem of saving snails from all those ravenous French bistros, but that's easy... 


WHOA! Note that this represents Da-da's 1000th post! Let's get this snail off the ground!

2 comments:

fieldguidetohummingbirds said...

I had the same image in mind once, that birds see UV reflectance as a "glow" like the colors of a psychedelic poster. After reading a couple of scientific papers on bird vision (including this overview), I realized that this is an inaccurate visualization based on our experience with fluorescence, in which invisible (to us) UV wavelengths are converted to longer wavelengths in the visible spectrum. This increases the visible (to us) light reflecting off the surface and accounts for the "glow." In the absence of fluorescence, UV wavelengths are invisible to us but appear to birds as additional non-glowing colors.

Regardless of whether the colors are just colors or whether they "glow," this doesn't seem to be a productive approach to reducing bird kills at wind farms. There have been a number of attempts to make wind turbine blades more visible to birds by painting them with colors and patterns, but all have had unsatisfactory results. The best hardware solution so far has been altering blade design, which also protects bats.

fieldguidetohummingbirds said...

I had the same image in mind once, that birds see UV reflectance as a "glow" like the colors of a psychedelic poster. After reading a couple of scientific papers on bird vision (including this overview), I realized that this is an inaccurate visualization based on our experience with fluorescence, in which invisible (to us) UV wavelengths are converted to longer wavelengths in the visible spectrum. This increases the visible (to us) light reflecting off the surface and accounts for the "glow." In the absence of fluorescence, UV wavelengths are invisible to us but appear to birds as additional non-glowing colors.

Regardless of whether the colors are just colors or whether they "glow," this doesn't seem to be a productive approach to reducing bird kills at wind farms. There have been a number of attempts to make wind turbine blades more visible to birds by painting them with colors and patterns, but all have had unsatisfactory results. The best hardware solution so far has been altering blade design, which also protects bats.

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