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'Acoustic Lighthouses' Help Prevent Fatal Bird-Building Collisions


By Dan Hounsell Facilities Management
birds and a building

Birds and buildings generally do not mix well. Maintenance and engineering managers and building occupants often have to put up with nuisance birds on and around facilities, but the mix can turn deadly when birds collide with buildings. 

Now, a team of researchers has used sound waves to prevent birds from slamming into tall communication towers. These so-called acoustic lighthouses reduced the number of birds flying close to the towers by up to 16 percent, helping to cut the risk of fatal collisions, according to ABC News.

Researchers emitted sound waves from speakers mounted in front of two tall communication towers on the Delmarva Peninsula in Virginia. They used white noise cropped to two frequency ranges: 4-6 kilohertz and 6-8 kilohertz.

Both ranges appeared to be effective bird deterrents, resulting in an average of 12-16 percent fewer birds flying close to the towers compared to normal conditions. The birds changed their flight movements faster and more drastically when exposed to the 4-6 kilohertz sound treatment, flying further away from the towers on average.

Dan Hounsell is Senior Editor, Facility Market.

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