For California prison officials, electric fences have meant $40 million in savings a year of money otherwise used to pay guards. For more than 3,000 birds, the fences have meant instant death.

Among the victims were 145 burrowing owls, 111 loggerhead shrikes and 10 red-tailed hawks - all on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's "sensitive" list because of declining populations.A solution appears to be in sight: After lengthy negotiations, state authorities have put up nets at 13 of the 25 prisons with the fencing.