Sometimes the simplest solution is the most efficient!
Fascinating to hear that scientists in Norway have found that painting one of the three blades on a wind turbine black reduces avian deaths by 72%.
In the paper, the scientists explain why birds are susceptible to flying into rotating turbine blades and why a single black blade helps them to perceive the rotor as an obstacle.
“Relative to humans, birds have a narrow binocular [eg, using both eyes to focus on one object] frontal field of view and likely use their monocular [using each eye independently] and high‐resolution lateral fields of view [ie, having eyes on opposite sides of their heads] for detecting predators, conspecifics [ie, birds of the same species], and prey,” the authors write.
“Within an assumed open airspace, birds may therefore not always perceive obstructions ahead, thereby enhancing the risk of collision. To reduce collision susceptibility, provision of ‘passive’ visual cues may enhance the visibility of the rotor blades, enabling birds to take evasive action in due time.”
It is thought that birds see the rotating white blades as a “motion smear” — the blur effect humans see when waving a hand quickly in front of their eyes — and do not perceive this blur as a moving object.
Painting one blade black is believed to create motion smear patterns that the bird perceives as a moving object, “as the frontal vision in birds may be more tuned for the direction of movement”.
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