Knitting and science research

There’s a yarn shop in Duncansville — a favorite of mine — called Delightful Ewe. It’s one of several I go to when the weather is good-ish and I feel like taking a drive. The yarn selection is good and the owner, Carla, is terrific. The Tea Merchant is next door, where I can sit and have a nice cuppa tea before or after the yarn shop. I can knit, have tea and scones, and enjoy good chat. Nothing could be better.

Along the way, before Tyrone and also near Altoona I can look at the wind turbines.  These turbines, as well as others across the country, are the subject of controversy. Some people don’t like to see them atop the Allegheny Ridge. I don’t mind because they represent clean, sustainable energy. (This doesn’t speak to the damage they cause the environment in order to put them on the ridge and I haven’t looked into that aspect.)

The thing that concerns me is the wildlife that comes into contact with these turbines. There has been some discussion about bats tangling with the turbines, but I have a hard time believing this is a problem. Healthy bats have wicked accurate sonar and can dodge fast-moving objects with no trouble at all. I can’t believe they have a tough time dodging the slower-moving blades of the turbines. I am glad, however, that the energy company who owns the turbines has decided to err on the side of caution. A bat was found dead at the foot of one of the turbines, so the company decided not to run the windmills at night during bat season.

Research being done at Penn State on the effect the turbines are having on golden eagles along the ridge. One of our writers just did an article about this research being done by Trish Miller — Researchers aim to lessen clash between raptors, wind turbines. Here is the slideshow.

Now, I have watched various raptors in action over the years and I can safely say they a lovely to watch, but way too single-minded for their own good. They get prey in their sight and go for it without checking their surroundings for an escape route.

One day I was sitting in my home office when I head a thump on the window. A hawk grabbed a small bird at a feeder down below and flew  straight into my window. I ran outside in time to see it shake itself, then fly off with prey in talons.

I have seen the results of raptor vs. bushes around my feeders when I lived in a wooded area several miles away from town.

It comes as no surprise that raptors are having collisions with turbines. If a hawk or eagle can’t avoid a stationary object, what chance do they have with a moving windmill blade?

I wish Trish much luck with her research.I would hate to lose the natural beauty and the ecological balance of the raptors. But I also don’t want to lose the sustainable energy of the wind turbines. There is beauty in the lazy circles in the sky that both create.

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