It’s been a tiresome retort from spokespeople defending the wind industry: “More birds are killed by cats and glass buildings than by wind farms, so wind farms are OK.”
Really? That makes it ‘OK’? Well, let’s think about that critically.
First of all, just because people die in car wrecks every day doesn’t mean it’s therefore OK for still more folks to die by plane crash, does it?
Yes, the argument is that ludicrous.
Especially since eagles, cranes, condors or bats are not likely to be flying into anyone’s window.
And when was the last time a domestic cat dragged home a bustard or an eagle?
Besides, if rare and threatened species are already on the brink due to human activities upon the planet, doesn’t it make sense to try to minimize such ‘collateral damage’ as much as possible? At least, it makes sense if you want to call your industry a ‘clean’, ‘green’ energy source.
I am going to do something different here, and list my source’s references right up front, to make a point:
(1) – CBC article:
(2) – Eagles killed by wind turbines: http://www.iberica2000.org/Es/Articulo.asp?Id=3071
– Ospreys killed by wind turbines: http://savetheeaglesinternational.org/?page_id=843
(3) – Specifications of wind turbine Aeronautica 47-750: http://aeronauticawind.com/aw/library/Spec_Sheet_Norwin750-54_new.pdf
(4) – 40 to 60 great bustards killed by the power lines of the Villasilos windfarm, Spain.
This compares to a previously estimated population of 260 individuals, immatures included, for the whole province of Burgos. The Villasilos area being the principal habitat in the province for these 10-14 kilo birds, where most of them show up at one time or another, the windfarm is actually acting as an ecological trap, a population sink for this endangered species. This is how “carefully” the wind industry places its windfarms. – STEI http://savetheeaglesinternational.org/?page_id=947
(5) – 6-18 million birds and bats killed yearly by 18,000 wind turbines in Spain:
(6) – The Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle is being driven to extinction by windfarms:
(7) – Wind turbines already driving some species to extinction: http://savetheeaglesinternational.org/
Scary that a ‘harmless’, so-called ‘green’ energy source should cause so much havoc on the Earth, isn’t it?
By now, long-term readers will know this author’s stance on industrial-scale wind installations: They are inefficient, costly, dangerous, noisy, ugly, destroy millions of acres of sensitive and critical habitat and chop up birds and bats by the millions around the world.
Wind ‘farms’ are not farms – They are industrial-scale utility installations – heartless, corporate-run income machines. They are not wildlife-friendly. They are not ‘green’ energy solutions.
You’ve read my past articles. You know the drill.
But now the World Council for Nature and Mark Duchamp/Save the Eagles, International, have come out and officially denounced the deceptive statements and outright lies routinely doled out by this lucrative INDUSTRY.
For starters, the press release states that, contrary to claims by wind-industry spokespeople, there is no such thing as a ‘bird-safe’ propeller-style wind turbine.
Industry misinformation claims that birds ‘stupidly crash into the turbines’, which repeatedly has been shown to be incorrect. Birds are struck by the blades, which seem to be slow-moving but in fact travel at very high speed at the tips. Imagine a child crossing the track at Indianapolis: this is what birds are doing when they fly between the arms of what looks like a gentle giant – suddenly, Whack!
The model they refer to, to be installed into supposedly protected wildlife habitat (Campobello Island, NB in the Atlantic Flyway) has a blade tip speed of 226 km/h – and is placed right in the path of ospreys and eagles.
Nothing can dodge a 2-ton blade moving at that speed, nor can a bird gauge the blade’s speed to avoid it, nor can bats, even with their echolocation, avoid the lethal drop in pressure around the spinning blades that stuns them to the ground with internal hemorrhage.*
Considering that massive wind installations are routinely sited in fragile and critical open, windswept locations, the invasive installation and infrastructure alone damages wildlife habitat. Combined with the direct killing of soaring birds – frequently threatened or endangered species, at that – and it’s a wonder the outcry has taken this long to begin slowing the spread of these disastrous projects.
It is happening, though, at last.
We can only hope it is not too late to save our imperiled species.
The situation is so dire that, despite harsh economic and political obstacles, more and more conservation organizations are stepping up to the plate to try to halt the insidious spread of these industrial-scale killing fields. For instance, here is the first press release from Mark Duchamp, of the World Council for Nature, on the outrageous project of Campobello Island, in which not just the turbines but the selection of the site itself, within an Internationally protected natural flyway and refuge, are exposed as hugely irresponsible.
Estimates from conservation groups predict 333 – 1000 bird and bat deaths per year per turbine.
Knowing that most installations typically expand to include more wind turbines than originally applied for, I asked Mr. Duchamp what the proposed development at Campobello would entail. This is his reply:
They are testing the water with one turbine, since it’s such a sensitive habitat. It’s the usual strategy for such cases.
I have no doubt more will come later. But a single wind turbine will kill bald eagles and ospreys just the same, especially if it is located as it is, near water.
These raptors will attempt to perch on the nacelle: it’s ideal for stalking prey. I have pictures of raptors perched on wind turbines, plus the video of a turkey vulture on a moving turbine. This is why so many get killed.
I have a contact who lives in Welshpool, close to where the turbine will be: she has observed up to seven bald eagles perched on a tree near her house.
This is the wrong island to put wind turbines on, even a single one.
You do the math : 6-18 million birds and bats killed yearly by 18,000 wind turbines in Spain, alone .
It is a known outcome that wind installations are avian slaughterhouses. Yet they continue to be approved, pushed through with money and politics, and the birds and bats suffer.
So, when does this carnage become unacceptable?
Why do so many continue to dismiss or deny the damage the wind energy industry actually does to the planet and to wildlife?
I suspect that, with the global overload of crisis’s and losing battles, which is only escalating as the folly of our ways comes back to haunt us, people are simply burned out.
We are tired.
We are overwhelmed.
We are hopeless.
We are becoming – selfish.
Does this excuse our actions or lack of actions? Does it pardon us from doing our absolute best to stem or reverse the tide of human-generated chaos and demolition we’re perpetrating on the natural world?
This author has to wonder why we, with those great, big, brilliant brains humans have been blessed with, can not design an energy source that is truly benign to wildlife and to the health of the Earth.
Or maybe we can – Maybe we HAVE – But the power and influence of the giant mega-corporate entities that are taking over the world are squelching such advances.
It will take a concerted effort to reject wind-industry rhetoric and the PR campaigns these corporations can afford to spend massive amounts of money on, but for any concerned and thinking individuals, it’s a moral and ethical responsibility we must uphold.
So how can you get started?
For more information please visit World Council for Nature or Save the Eagles International.
* Many thanks to Mr. Mark Duchamp of SavetheEaglesInternational.org, for his help in fact-checking this article.