Vulture blind spots lead to collisions with wind turbines

By Ed Yong | March 14, 2012 7:16 am

Here are two facts that make no sense together:

Vultures have among the sharpest eyes of any animal.

Vultures are among the birds most likely to crash into wind turbines and power lines.

If their eyes can spot a tiny carcass from high up in the air, why can’t they see a massive metallic structure looming in front of them? Because they can’t. Vultures, it turns out, have large blind spots above and below their heads. And because they hold their heads at a downwards angle when they fly, they are blind to everything directly in front of them.

I covered this story for Nature News. Head over there to find out why these blind spots exist, and what we can do to prevent vultures crashing into wind farms (featuring “vulture restaurants”).

Photo by M. Mirinha/STRIX

ADVERTISEMENT

Comments are closed.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Not Exactly Rocket Science

Dive into the awe-inspiring, beautiful and quirky world of science news with award-winning writer Ed Yong. No previous experience required.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+