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Friday, 28 June 2013

The impact of Windfarms on resident and migrating birds

Below is a well-balanced response I got to a note I published following the demise of the Harris Needletail........

Hi Lee


Your last point echoes similar stories I heard in Bulgaria. When the turbines were first erected it was possible to visit the sites, and victims such as Eagle Owl were easily found. Security guards were quickly employed to keep away 'intruders' and allegedly to remove the 'evidence'.

What interests me is the RSPB's 'pro windfarm' stance. To publicly state that birds being killed by windfarms is 'really very rare' is misleading and indeed factually inaccurate. Apparently the RSPB does not dispute studies which indicate that:

' In the Altamont Pass in California, for example, one study found about 4,000 wind turbines killed 67 golden eagles and 1,127 birds of prey in a year.

In southern Spain, 252 wind turbines located in an area used by many birds of prey and on the migratory path of many large birds killed 124 birds of prey in a year. At another location in southern Spain 256 turbines killed 30 Griffon Vultures and 12 Common Kestrels.''

The RSPB apparently dismisses these deaths on the basis that the wind farms were 'poorly sited'. Even if that is the case, it is difficult to understand how they can publicly state that deaths due to wind turbines are 'really very rare'.

Of course, there are many other things which take a huge toll on bird populations, and it is understandable that concerns over climate change come to the fore. But that should not blinker us to the impact of wind turbines or the need to proactively implement means of mitigating against that impact.

Anthony Dorman