Named Houdini, the falcon in question is 15 years old and a trained performer. With a thumb drive-sized GPS on his back, the Energy Department is using him to train radar how to see small birds. Wind turbine plants use radar to detect nearby aircraft, which allows them to automatically turn on lights so pilots can steer clear of the spinning blades. Lights kept on all the time can make wind turbines unpopular with locals, so a system that turns on only when needed is important. That’s great for planes, which are easy for radar to detect, but tricky for birds, who are small and fly differently from humans. Instead of radar, power companies could have a human keep a 24-hour lookout to activate lights if birds come near, but that’s costly, especially if an automated system could do the job instead.