Windmills chop up nearly 100,000 endangered species birds a year (just in this country), and now solar is killing more. Why can't we have some wildlife-friendly electricity generation? Say, some nice safe coal plants?Two months ago, 34 birds were found dead or injured on the site of the Ivanpah solar plant owned by BrightSource Energy in east San Bernardino County, California. Almost half suffered from singed feathers after running afoul of the plant’s reflected beams of sunlight, according to a report from The Desert Sun. This was not an isolated incident: another 19 were found dead at the 500-megawatt Desert Sunlight plant, which is also located in California.So what’s going on here? Why are birds dropping like their winged-brethren, flies, around these plants and what can we do?The Californian desert has become a popular place to build solar energy plants because of the abundant space and, of course, the sun. However, the region also serves as one of the four major north-to-south trajectories for migratory birds: the Pacific Flyway. So while it seems like an ideal locale, birds who fly over these structures face some new and unusual hazards.When it comes to death by solar farm, birds typically die in one of two ways. In the first, the glimmering sheer of solar panels might trick birds into thinking they are actually part of a body of water. And so the birds, especially waterfowl in this scenario, dive towards the panels, looking for moisture and food, only to find themselves, bones broken, dying in the middle of the arid California sand.Blunt force trauma aside, others feel the wrath of the harnessed sunlight. At the right (or really, wrong) angle, the potent radiation bouncing off solar mirror’s are enough to burn a bird’s fragile wings, abruptly sending the creature downward towards the ground and impending death. They’re like tragic avian Icaruses, except without an easily digestible moral lesson behind their fatal crashes.
Hey all you SWPL Greens - stop screwing up the Environment! Some of us are trying to live here!