Color of Wind Turbines Unsuitable for Wildlife
Research showed that the color of wind turbines attract insects, explaining why wind turbines sometimes kill birds and bats.
Researchers say that wind turbines, most frequently painted grey or white, attract insects. Since birds and bats chase after their prey, which are insects, they are lured into the turbines and consequently get caught and killed by its blades. Backing this idea is another report that declared that bats are frequently killed by wind turbines in summer and at night, when there is an abundance of insects.
While conducting the study, the team measured how the color of turbines changes the number of insects that collect around it. Majority of wind turbines are painted grey or white to make them look as inconspicuous as possible. However, insects, seemingly, are not likely to disregard these low-key colors.
The researchers quantified the numbers of insects attracted to a variety of paint colors which included purple, red, sky blue, dark grey and of course, light grey and white. They did it by setting colored cards in a haphazard sequence beside a 13 meter high 3-blade wind turbine positioned in a meadow close to Leicestershire, UK.
Their discovery also came as a surprise even to the researchers.
According to Ms. Long’s statement given to BBC, the major conclusion of the study is that the color of turbines could have a weighty impact on the magnetism of the insect species to wind turbines, during the day and even at night. In addition, turbines painted light grey or pure white attract the most insects, except another color, yellow.
The insects drawn into the turbines included crane flies, beetles, thrips, butterflies, moths, greenfly, and small and large flies.
Miss Long said that they found it exceedingly interesting that the typically colored turbines were very attractive to insects, and the result of their study support the hypothesis that turbines are fascinating to insects.
The most unattractive color to insects was purple. But the researchers do not recommend that all wind turbines be necessarily painted this color. However, their study do suggest that altering the color of the turbine could have a great impact on the quantity of insects it attracts and consequently the quantity of bats and birds that get killed by turbines in search of their prey.
The scientists also found out that a high level of infrared and ultraviolet components of pain color that are perceived by insects but not by humans also have a high level of attraction to insects.
Although Ms Long and her team realizes that there other factors playing a role in drawing bats and birds to wind turbines, changing the color of wind turbines is a cost-effective palliative strategy.