Action Synopsis: Bird Conservation About Actions

Paint wind turbines to increase their visibility

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

A single ex situ experiment found that thick black stripes running across a wind turbine’s blades made them more conspicuous to an American kestrel than control (unpatterned) blades, but that other designs were less visible, or indistinguishable from controls.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A randomised, controlled ex situ experiment on an American kestrel Falco sparverius (McIsaac 2001) found that it could discriminate between a control stimulus and an image of rotating wind turbine blades better if the blades were painted with two thick black bands running across the width of the blade (a visibility ratio of 2.4 in bright light, decreasing to 1.5 in low light, no difference in very low light). Blades with narrow black bands running across the width of the blade were less conspicuous in bright light (ratio of 0.1) and were indistinguishable in low light. A pattern of three stripes running the length of the blade were not significantly more or less conspicuous than plain white blades. Both the control (grey blade rotating in front of a grey background) and experimental stimuli rotated at 30 rpm.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Bird Conservation. Pages 137-281 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.


Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Bird Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Bird Conservation
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What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

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