The Burning Hawk Wine Initiative was established to help address the issue of birds being harmed through powerline collision or electrocution. However, if we take a step back it’s important to consider how to improve the entire energy system to be safer and more hospitable for raptors and birds (wind mills, power plants etc…). And over time we hope that you, our millions of engaged readers:), will allow us to bring new issues to your attention.
With this in mind here is some information about another energy system/avian conflict—raptors getting injured or killed by the flaring of methane at garbage dumps and landfills. Please read these blog posts by Audubon Birdscapes and Birdchaser which both describe the problem in detail and share solutions. Here are some other links: Mystery of Burned Hawks is Solved and Raptor Burns from Landfill Methane Burners.
Evidently, raptors see these burners as a great perch from which to rest and hunt for their prey. The immediate solution seems to be retrofitting methane burners with perch discouragers or excluder devices. A longer-term solution I’m wondering about is how to eliminate flaring in the first place. I know that methane can be converted to electricity or liquified natural gas (LNG) to help power our communities. What I don’t know is do these systems eliminate flaring altogether? Perhaps someone could help me out on this question.
Here is an article on Community Pulse about one such methane-to-electricity system in Sonoma County, CA wine country. For a national-level program there’s the EPAS Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP). I called one of their team members today and this raptor/methane burning issue hadn’t crossed his radar before. He was appreciative of the heads up and requested additional information. Since they work with landfills around the country, this would be one potential group that could help get the word out about this issue and what can be done.