ELKINS - The deaths of nearly 500 songbirds during the fall migration season are being blamed on lights left on at a power substation at the AES Laurel Mountain wind farm.
The American Bird Conservancy said the birds died from colliding with the substation and exhaustion after the birds became disoriented after getting caught in the lights' glare on a foggy night. The birds that died Oct 2-3 included blackpoll warblers, Connecticut warblers, yellow-billed cuckoos, sora and Virginia rail.
Night-migrating songbirds flying without a horizon to follow can get "trapped" by steady burning lights.
Division of Natural Resources officials said that AES is drafting a final report on the the incident, which will be submitted to the DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildfile Service.