are birds attracted to solar panels

Audubon strongly supports properly sited photovoltaic solar power that avoids, minimizes, or mitigates impacts to birds and their habitat. As with all forms of renewable energy, we work with Congress and wildlife agencies to make sure that all projects are carried out in accordance with federal laws, like the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Solar energy is currently one of the fastest growing forms of energy. It’s economically competitive, and is flexible in the size and location of installations. It can power a single home or an entire neighborhood, and can be privately owned or service a whole community.

In all the deserved excitement about solar energy, it’s important to remember that not all solar works the same way, or has the same ecological benefit. That’s why we only support photovoltaic solar, which is probably what you picture when you think of solar power. It consists of shiny black panels facing the sun, capturing light, and converting it into electricity. The other form of solar energy –concentrated solar power (CSP)– is too dangerous for birds.

Our own science shows that unless we slow the rise of global temperatures, two-thirds of North America’s birds could face extinction. Renewable energy, like solar power, is key to reducing pollution and holding temperatures steady. This not only protects birds, but also communities that are vulnerable to the effects of climate change, which disproportionately includes communities of color.

There is currently an uptick in the use of solar, driven in part by increasing affordability. In 2008, installing a solar panel cost about $4 per watt. Today it costs 65 cents. The increase in solar energy production in California – 13,000 megawatts of energy powering 3.3 million homes – is helping drive a national trend.

Is photovoltaic energy safe for birds? As with most renewable energy sources, the benefits to birds by reducing carbon emissions outweigh other concerns, as long as the installations are built with care. Large solar installations must be properly sited to avoid disrupting bird habitat, and to minimize the chances that birds collide with the solar panels and associated infrastructure, like transmission lines and substations. Rooftop solar is ecologically ideal because it doesn’t disrupt any habitat, but rather makes use of already-built space that would otherwise not go to productive use.

Aside from photovoltaic solar, the other type of solar electricity generation is known as concentrated solar power (CSP). CSP takes two different forms: Concentrated Thermal and Power Tower technology. Power Towers use mirrors to concentrate solar rays onto a receiver to turn the solar energy into heat. The problem with concentrating so much solar energy into one place is that birds are attracted to the light beam and the mirrors, and the intense heat kills more birds than would be saved from avoided emissions. Because of this, Audubon remains opposed to any further construction of concentrated solar towers.

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Do Solar Panels Attract Birds?

Yes, solar panels attract birds for several reasons.

Just like with windows, birds are frequently drawn to the reflective surfaces of solar panels.

But they’re also attracted to solar panels for safety reasons. Because solar panels offer warmth and shelter, they frequently build their nests beneath them to tend to their young.

Can Birds Damage Solar Panels?

Typically, solar panel systems include space for wiring and ventilation between the panels and the roof. Numerous tiny animals build their nests or seek cover beneath solar panels to escape the wind, rain, and heat.

Apart from constructing nests beneath solar panels, birds frequently deposit dead chicks, cracked eggs, and droppings beneath them. These build up beneath your panels, reducing the necessary airflow to keep the panels from overheating due to their mass.

Additionally, the debris might trickle down the side of your house and into your gutters. There, it causes blockages and an unpleasant sight and smell. If you don’t keep a close eye on the situation, a large infestation can damage roofs and clog gutters in just one week.

Bird droppings can accumulate on top of your panels as well as beneath them. It’s best to clean off droppings as soon as possible.

If you don’t, the droppings can hinder your panels’ effectiveness. Furthermore, it may be challenging to clean up the mess after droppings harden due to heat.

Additional Considerations for Reducing Effects on Wildlife

If you’re concerned about the effects that solar panels have on birds and other wildlife, you can take steps to reduce their impact. For example, the Audubon Society recommends the following:

  • Utilize wall-mounted and rooftop solar whenever you can to save habitat disruption and make use of the infrastructure already in place.
  • Take special precautions when installing large solar panel systems. Precautions include minimizing the likelihood of birds colliding with infrastructure and preventing disturbance of bird habitat. This infrastructure involves the panels themselves, transmission lines and substations.
  • For the benefit of birds and other pollinators, think about cultivating native plant species surrounding your solar panel installation.


How do I keep birds out of my solar panels?

The best way to stop pigeons from nesting under your solar panels is to install Solar Panel Mesh and Clips to guard the undersides of the panels. This mesh is run along the perimeters of the solar array too stop birds and rodents from accessing the warm protected underside.

Do birds like solar panels?

Rooftop solar panels create an ideal environment for pigeons and other pest birds to nest and roost. The panels provide shade from the hot sun, security from predators, and an easy in-and-out vantage point for birds.

Why do birds flock to solar panels?

The reflective surface and any solar panel glare can captivate them, attracting them to the roof and prompting them to settle on top of the house. Aside from the reflection, birds also love the warmth found under freshly installed panels and the protection they provide.

Do solar panels affect wildlife?

One of the main negative impacts of solar energy on animal habitats is the loss and fragmentation of natural habitats. Solar power facilities often require a large amount of land to be cleared and leveled, which can lead to the destruction of ecosystems and displacement of animal populations.