Methane Gas From Landfills Burns and Injures Birds

Methane Gas From Landfills Burns and Injures Birds

Birds are facing problems at local landfills. According to reporting in National Geographic, landfill facilities that burn methane to dispose of it are putting birds in harm’s way.

Because methane is colorless when it burns birds can fly into it. Hilary DeVries, a wildlife rehabilitator at the center, located in Española, New Mexico, described a hawk after encountering a methane flame.

DeVries told National Geographic, “It kind of looked like it ran through fire.” The hawk had been so badly burned he looked skeletal and had scorched his neck and chest.

Methane is disposed of by burning, a federally mandated practice. Landfills use a device to convert methane into water and carbon dioxide, which is less harmful.

However, the burner’s flames can shoot 30 feet in the air. And they’re colorless, which means birds can fly into the without realizing it.

Because of the large number of landfills in the United States, and the fact that they’re located in rural areas, bird injuries can go undetected.

Some landfills have put cages or nets around methane flumes to keep birds away. Bird rescuers are still working on a solution to this problem.

“The unfortunate thing is we don’t have a great solution to it. We just understand the problem,” Gary Siftar, director of the Oklahoma Raptor Center told National Geographic.

This article was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 3 December 2020. Lead Image Source : Richard Seeley/

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