A giant, cage-like structure being installed at a New Jersey landfill should reduce the number of birds killed by nearly invisible flames as they fly over the Meadowlands, local officials said.
The barely detectable flames shoot from pipes used to burn off excess methane at some landfills.
The structure — about seven stories tall — is being installed in a Lyndhurst landfill. The Record reported that Public Service Electric and Gas Co. came up with the design for the cage and installed a frame.
Bergen County Audubon Society President Don Torino said he's complained for years to the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which oversees the closed Kingsland Landfill in Lyndhurst.
He called the structure plan "a good shot" at fixing the problem, noting there aren't many solutions for birds flying into the invisible fire in practice today.
The sports authority plans to seek bids from contractors to install chain link fencing around the poles from their tops down about 20 feet to the flame. There will be no fencing across the top of the poles like a roof because the agency doesn't want to encourage birds to land there above the flame, said agency spokesman Brian Aberback.
The sports authority had trouble coming up with a solution for the problem, in part because there is no national standard on how to protect birds from being injured or killed by invisible, continuously-burning flames.
The cage will appear to birds as a solid building, which should discourage them from flying near it Aberback said. Last fall the sports authority cut down trees around the flame to make it less attractive to raptors and other birds that like to perch in the area while hunting for prey.