Twice each year, 500 million birds soar over Israel as they migrate between Europe, Africa, and Asia. But a bird watcher's paradise can rapidly become a pilot's nightmare. In fact, hundreds of collisions between migrating birds and military and civilian airplanes cost millions of dollars annually and, tragically, have killed three pilots in recent years.
But an invention by Israeli middle school students in Kiryat Bialik offers a solution to the serious problem. Students at the ORT Afek Middle School invented a device that not only uses heat detectors to spot migrating birds flying near airports, but also emits loud siren blasts and floodlights to scare them away. The apparatus won first prize in a national competition sponsored by Israel's Society of Excellence through Education (SEE). "Although it seemed extremely ambitious at first," says Dr. Avi Poleg, a SEE official, "the terrific outcome of the project taught us that we shouldn't be afraid of challenges."