In Brief

BBQ Wings? Birds Fried at Solar Plant

Officials are investigating a high number of bird deaths at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station in Southern California. (Image credit: trekandshoot /

There's a lot to love about green energy, but officials at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station in Southern California are investigating a strange problem at their facility: dead birds with singed or burned feathers.

The operators of the plant, which uses about 350,000 mirrors to direct sunlight at water boilers atop 40-story-high towers, started finding dead birds at the facility even during its construction phase. The bodies of falcons, hawks, warblers, sparrows and other birds have appeared on and around the plant, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The death of some birds was expected, but the number of birds killed has surprised officials. Some biologists speculate that birds flying above the facility mistake the vast array of mirrors for a shimmering lake, then get burned when they fly too close to the installation. Temperatures around the towers can reach 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit (538 degrees Celsius).

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Marc Lallanilla
Live Science Contributor
Marc Lallanilla has been a science writer and health editor at and a producer with His freelance writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and Marc has a Master's degree in environmental planning from the University of California, Berkeley, and an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin.