Acoustic lighthouses could save millions of birds from colliding with communication towers


According to US Fish and Wildlife Service, more than 50 million birds are killed each year only in the United States by colliding with communication towers, buildings, wind turbines, etc.

If we take worldwide estimates, it’ll be billions.


These towers, wind turbines are unavoidable because they’re important to us in the form of energy, information, and communication. 

But these structures are endangering birds. So this is a serious issue. We need to fix this. 

White Noise to Save The Lives of Millions of Birds.
White Noise to Save The Lives of Millions of Birds.


There comes a new study that suggests there might be a way to fix this problem. 

Installing acoustic lighthouses that blast white noise in the form of low-frequency short bursts(4-6kHz).


White Noise to offer some Help

White noise is a type of noise or signal that has different frequencies and equal intensity. 

White noises have constant power spectral density. 


Installing those white noise-enabled acoustic lighthouses with towers, wind turbines, or other buildings will divert and stop migratory birds from colliding with these manmade structures.

This was tested with two different signals in a field trial. Interestingly, those signals diminished bird activity near the communication towers by up to 16%.


Now, researchers are hoping that these acoustic lighthouses could reduce the risk of collisions of birds with wind turbines. 

We know that wind turbines are built to harness energy from wind streams. 

Migratory birds also travel along with the same wind streams. So migratory bird activity is comparatively high near areas where wind turbines are planted. 


“It’s an area of high potential conflict between migrating birds and human development,” said Timothy Boycott, a conservation biologist at William & Mary College. 

They conducted a new field trial near two communication towers on the Delmarva, Peninsula where 30 minutes of bursts are projected by the speakers. The trial lasted for six days. 


“It’s a geographic area that sees an incredibly high abundance of birds moving through. And these birds are moving southward along the Atlantic migratory flyway, headed as far south as the very tip of South America in some cases,” said Boycott. 

“They were both broad-spectrum, a kind of staticky, hissy type sound,” he added. 

White Noise to Save The Lives of Millions of Birds.

They’ve used some cameras to capture the flight behavior of around 1,500 birds passing within 100 meters of the two communications towers. 

They analyzed the data and found that the birds reacted to the white noises as expected. 

According to their data, when the low-frequency noise of 4-6 kHz was projected, birds flew through the area by keeping a safe distance from communication towers. 


So the mission was successful. Although, some more studies are remaining to conduct.

“Birds stayed farther away from the towers and they angled their flight trajectories away from the towers more,” said Boycott. 

“Future studies would be really important to see how those differences in flight behavior actually translate to mortality on the ground,” he added. 


Human intervention in the environment caused much harm to other living beings. 

We did many mistakes, still make many mistakes but it seems like in many ways, we are becoming aware of them and trying to correct them. 

The above initiative to save birds from colliding with man-made structures is one of them.


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