Scientists study seabirds to see how they might be affected by wind farms and to suggest appropriate placement for turbines to generate that nonpolluting, renewable energy.
Up and down the mid-Atlantic coast from Rhode Island to Virginia, politicians and engineers are looking for places to construct offshore wind farms, similar to those already providing clean energy around the country. Hirsch’s timely text explains this energy source, touches on why we need wind farms and how they work, and describes a four-year scientific study of gannets, scoters, and red-throated loons. She focuses particularly on the gannets, graceful ocean divers whose movements were previously a mystery. In successive chapters, she introduces the problem, then describes two nighttime boat trips to capture, band, and fit some birds with transmitters, which will reveal their whereabouts for a year. She reports on the travels of one tagged male and on life in the gannet breeding colonies off the east coast of Canada. She concludes with a more nuanced explanation of the hazards facing gannets and other seabirds. Laced with well-captioned photographs, maps, and blocks of sidebar text, the pages are attractively designed. There’s lots of information here, but there’s also lively action, a sense of immediacy, and a recognition that there are still far more questions than answers.
Practical, topical science in the field for middle-grade and middle school readers. (author’s note, source notes, glossary, selected bibliography, further information, index) (Nonfiction. 9-13)