Monday, October 15, 2012

ENERGY: Will Fundy Wind Farms really kill huge numbers of birds? I wondered ...


I shared this great Facebook “poster” on my site today and it drew a lot of attention including the declaration that these things kill a lot of birds. Like everyone, I’ve been hearing that over and over … but really I didn’t know if that was true or not. What I did know was that cars, windows and our beautiful old lighthouses kill plenty or birds, not to mention feral and domestic cats, wild predators and activities like aerial spraying, clearcutting and so on.

Anyway, I decided to do a little research and came up with some really interesting stats. If it is true, it seems that wind turbines are the least of our worry.

Man-made structure/technologyAssociated bird deaths per year (U.S.)
Feral and domestic catsHundreds of millions [source: AWEA]
Power lines130 million — 174 million [source: AWEA]
Windows (residential and commercial)100 million — 1 billion [source: TreeHugger]
Pesticides70 million [source: AWEA]
Automobiles60 million — 80 million [source: AWEA]
Lighted communication towers40 million — 50 million [source: AWEA]
Wind turbines
10,000 — 40,000 [source: ABC]

Collisions with wind turbines account for about one-tenth of a percent of all “unnatural” bird deaths in the United States each year. And of all bird deaths, 30 percent are due to natural causes, like baby birds falling from nests [source: AWEA]. So why the widespread misconception that labels wind turbines “bird-o-matics”? I­t all starts with California, raptors and the thousands of old turbines that make up the Altamont Pass wind farm.

In this article, we’ll find out where the statistics went wrong, how thousands of birds do end up flying into wind turbines each year and what’s being done to reduce the number of bird-turbine collisions.

You check yourself. Here’s the links:

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ENERGY: Will Fundy Wind Farms really kill huge numbers of birds? I wondered ...

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