As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Tuesday 25 September 2012

The Computerized Birder: Can Software Stop Bird Strikes on Wind Farms?

There's a common association in many people's minds between wind turbines and dead birds. Opposition to new wind farms often centers on their hazards to raptors and other winged creatures, and yet for as advanced as wind energy technology itself has become, methods for tracking birds are astonishingly analog. 

"Currently the way you do these bird surveys is by putting a guy in a lawn chair," says Russell Conard, a young computer scientist who is pursuing a better way to complete this task. He is talking to us while seated at a picnic bench next to the water at the Lake Erie MetroPark, about 35 minutes south of Detroit. About ten feet away sits a man in a lawn chair doing just what Conard describes--counting the birds that fly through this high-traffic migratory pathway. He is the official counter for this site, which means it is his job to spend eight to ten hours per day, seven days a week, staring up at the sky and recording what he sees. 

Read on:

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