IPFS News Link • Environment

A Surprisingly High Number of Wildfires Are Caused by Electrocuted Birds

• arclein

In a paper published in Wildlife Society Bulletin, researchers collected data for birds causing fires from being electrocuted throughout the contiguous United States from January 2014 through December 2018. There is no central database for this sort of thing, so they got creative. They set up Google Alerts for three keyword searches: bird (and) fire, eagle (and) fire, and hawk (and) fire, and filtered out unrelated results. Next, they manually sorted through the results and discarded wildfires that were not confirmed to have been started by a bird, looking for photographic evidence of a burned carcass at the ignition site or a statement made by an expert. Lastly, they mapped the fires out against ecoregions to see whether any one area was more susceptible to bird-caused fires than others, per Science's Richard Kemeny.