We've all read plenty about marine plastics and the death of seabirds. But how about this story on how one plastic product may help save birds?
The "looming eyes buoy" is, essentially, a set of large plastic googly eyes attached to a buoy marking nets in fishing areas. The eyes mimic the look of large, predatory birds, and when floating over a net deter birds that otherwise might dive in for a treat only to find themselves trapped. The concept is similar to a scarecrow in a farm field.
"To the general public, ingesting plastic may be one of the most well-known threats to seabirds; yet an estimated 400,000 seabirds are killed each year through accidental 'bycatch' in fishing nets," BirdLife International said. "The problem spans across the avian world: Nearly 150 different seabird species [are] thought to be susceptible to this danger."
In a paper released May 5 by Royal Society Open Science, researchers said a study showed that the googly-eyed buoys reduced the presence of long-tailed ducks by 20-30 percent, potentially meaning that birds were avoiding them.
Score one (potentially) for plastics.