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How Light Can Prevent Bird Strikes

Cara J

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On a cold January afternoon in 2009, a flock of Canada geese (Branta canadensis) flew into both jet engines of U.S. Airways Flight 1549 as it was flying over the Hudson River, causing the engines to fail and forcing the pilots to make an emergency water landing. Luckily, the passengers and crew successfully evacuated the plane, but many people were left with questions about how to stop these bird-aircraft collisions or bird strikes. “This is a complex issue because we need to use aircraft to move around, but we also want to protect the birds,” said Esteban Fernandez-Juricic, a professor of biological sciences at Purdue University and the lead author of a study that was recently published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications. “Some bird strikes are damaging and can actually take an airplane down.” But, Fernandez-Juricic and his colleagues may have found an effective way to deter birds from colliding with aircraft. As part of the study, the researchers examined the wavelength of light and the type of light (whether it was pulsing or steady) that would best capture the attention of brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater) and cause them to avoid aircraft. They found that when light at a wavelength [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/how-light-can-prevent-bird-strikes/

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