Science meets nature (with very sharp beaks)Posted: Tuesday, 29th November, 2011
It’s corella breeding season and flocks of birds are hanging out in our solar field. They’re beautiful, social white birds that always look like they’re having a good time. It’s nice to watch them larking about on the heliostats, but we’re keeping an eye on them – we’d prefer to keep admiring their antics rather than having to patch up any damage they might do with their sharp beaks. If it comes to that, though, the next step might be to put a fake hawk on the tower to scare them away.
Addendum: thanks to twitter user @pattyjansen who alerted us to a novel way of scaring away birds:
you may have to install ‘aliens’ as protector against cockatoo damage, like
Intrigued, I got in touch with the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex at Tidbinbilla to find out where we could get aliens of our own. It turns out that it actually refers to a bird deterrent system they have on the main antenna. They’ve found that the most effective system for preventing cockatoos from from roosting there is to install electronic bells that go off morning and evening to irritate the birds.
Why ‘aliens’? According to Glen Nagle, CSIRO’s Communications manager at the CDSCC:
When people are here and they hear the electronic bells go off on the dish, they ask “What’s that noise?” and we often jokingly reply “Oh, that’s the aliens calling us again.”