Hawaii utility tops transmission towers with lasers to protect birds

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LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) — An electric utility in Hawaii is experimenting with using lasers to protect migrating seabirds.

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative said Tuesday it's attaching 30 lasers to transmission poles. The lasers will shine beams across six spans next to coffee fields.

Threatened species, including the Newell's Shearwater and the Hawaiian Petrel, are being injured and killed when they fly into lines and poles while migrating to sea at night.

Researchers hope the birds will avoid these collisions when they see the lights.

The lasers are similar to laser pointers but they won't threaten aircraft because the beams are parallel to the ground. They're also not being used in designated air space.

The utility may install the lasers elsewhere on Kauai if the experiment is successful.

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