Solar’s feathered foes

Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO, has discovered that cockatoos can be such a menace. Writing on their blog, scientists at the CSIRO’s National Solar Energy Center have reported white corellas "hanging out" on the heliostats that form part of their CSP installation.

While the cockatoos, as yet, haven’t caused any major damage to the CSIRO heliostats, when the CSIRO team tweeted about the resident corellas, they were advised of a technique to keep birds off electronics.

Another CSIRO facilitate, the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC) uses what they call "aliens" to prevent cockatoo damage. The "aliens" are in fact electronic bells that go off every morning and evening to irritate the cockatoos.

The name, according the CSIRO’s Communications manager at the CDSCC Glen Nagle, comes from when visitors hear the electronic bells and ask, "what’s that noise?" The scientists often reply, "that’s the aliens calling us again."

The CSIRO solar scientists say that if they discover the birds damaging the heliostats, the aliens may be called in to help.