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Nature & Environment

Starlings blamed for mystery power outages

By T.K. Randall
December 18, 2020 · Comment icon 2 comments

The culprits turned out to be common garden birds. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Mick Lobb
A spate of unexplained power outages in the remote Scottish village of Airth has finally been solved.
The peculiar mystery, that had left engineers at the local electricity supplier scratching their heads, had been proving to be quite the nuisance with power cuts occurring seemingly at random and for several minutes at a time despite there being no apparent fault with the power cables.

It wasn't until lead engineer Neil McDonald went out on an evening walk to inspect the lines that he finally discovered what was causing the issue: thousands upon thousands of starlings.

Grabbing his phone, he filmed huge flocks of the birds swooping across the lines which caused them to bounce up and down - disrupting the power for brief periods of time.
"In all my 14 years working for SP energy networks I have never seen anything like it," he said.

"For all the birds looked small, the sheer number of them caused the wires to bounce up and down as they danced on and off."

"There're actually three wires between those poles and when they clash together the power will go off for around 10 seconds or so at a time. That's what's been happening quite frequently, with some of these clashes causing wider damage and longer outages."

Efforts are now underway to dissuade the birds from flocking near the cables.

Source: The Guardian | Comments (2)

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Comment icon #1 Posted by RoofGardener 3 years ago
ROFL I remember hearing a story from the 70's. The Royal Navy where in an excercise against the US navy off the coast of America. The RN where particularly  annoyed that the US navy kept finding - and 'sinking' - the RN's "Churchil" class nuclear submarines.  One feature of these submarines was a low-frequency transmitter with which it could communicate with Northwood. It involved a mile-long antenna cable that was streamed out behind the submarine when it wanted to transmit.  Some time after the excercises, a US Navy commander confided in his RN counterpart how they where able to locate th... [More]
Comment icon #2 Posted by Abramelin 3 years ago
They finally found out how to annoy us most. Aside of ****ting on the vehicles of God's most favorite lab animals.

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