2 Who Inspired The Animals To Work On The Windmill Wind Energy and Bird Mortality

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Wind Energy and Bird Mortality

A rather curious letter recently appeared on the editorial page of the Tulsa World, “Wind Turbines,” by Jim Wiegand, Redding, CA. Mr. Weigand is not affiliated with Tulsa, and the paper had an editor’s note: “Wiegand is a nationally recognized wildlife biologist and expert on the effects of wind turbines on birds.” A search shows that Mr. Weigand has a degree in biology from the 1970s and makes a living selling antiques. He has done nothing that would qualify him as an expert in wildlife biology, and none of his claims, here or elsewhere, are supported by reliable research. His advocacy is writing letters to newspapers and posting comments on websites critical of wind energy. The letter began: “The wind industry is covering up massive turbine-related genocide of birds and bats. The industry has created fraudulent mortality studies and been given voluntary guidelines to hide its slaughter.” The letter never mentioned the birds again, but continued with a critique of wind power and conspiracy theories.

Wind turbines sometimes kill birds and bats, but bird genocide? In his other writings, Mr. Wiegand claims that windmills are responsible for dozens of whooping crane deaths and that they will cause their extinction within five years. So far, there are no crane deaths that can be attributed to windmills. Carla Gilbert, in a post on the article, disputed the danger to similar birds. “When I was traveling in Portugal a few years ago, we could see many wind turbine farms from the highway. We were informed that storks like to build their nests on top of them. When the bus stopped for fuel, I took pictures of the storks sitting. in their nests on top of the turbines and I saw several storks coming and going from their nests. I didn’t see any birds hurt or dead.” And, storks are not disappearing because of windmills. A hawk who was initially concerned about windmills now places his hawk boxes on wind turbines and considers them no more of a threat to birds than his picture window.

There has been considerable opposition to windmills and renewable energy in general, so it is difficult to know whether all the criticism is factual. Studies have found an average of five to eight dead chicks per windmill. That’s roughly the number of birds that fit into a picture window each year. When you add in the birds killed by cars and hunting, it would appear that other human activities are a greater threat to bird genocide than wind turbines. For birds, the main threats are windows, cats, climate change, disease, hunters and pesticides.

There is concern for protected species such as lesser cutthroats and eagles. There are severe penalties for harming eagles, so to be on the safe side, windmill owners apply for permits to legally kill eagles. This has caused a lot of protests, but recently, the government gave the companies a 30-year moratorium on enforcing the protection laws while they study the problem. It doesn’t seem likely that an eagle would fly into a windmill, especially since another criticism concerns the noise that windmills make. There are still confirmed reports of 85 bald eagles being killed by windmills in the past five years, about 17 per year. Eagles are at the top of the food chain, so any environmental pollutant is likely to harm them, and DDT was the main cause of their population decline. After DDT was banned and they were protected, their population has recovered to about 140,000 in North America and they have been removed from the endangered species list. They are harmed by many pollutants associated with energy production – about 280 were killed by the Exxon Valdez oil spill. It is a shame when one of the wonderful birds is accidentally killed. If we stop any activity that could harm them, then we will have to stop a large part of our energy production.

The concern with the lesser prairie chicken is that they avoid tall structures and windmills can cause them to move from their normal habitat. Seagulls come together to mate, each bringing a large communal area called a lek. An oil company, opposed to wind power, took a group of reporters up to a buck in the Osage Hills to show them what could be lost if windmills were built there, if a van didn’t go. full of journalists about their money. to disturb them. Many of the wildlife and noise problems can be addressed by where the windmills are located and sensible laws are needed to ensure that the windmills will cause as little disturbance to animals and people as possible.

Research reveals that current evidence of bird kills by windmills is greatly exaggerated. In Journal of Applied Ecology Volume 49, Issue 2, pages 386-394, April 2012, the authors found that the impact of wind farms on bird populations was minimal, with the greatest impact during construction than during subsequent operation. A comprehensive study of bird mortality in Canada found that most human-related bird deaths (about 99%) are caused by feral and domestic cats, collisions with buildings and vehicles, and power transmission and distribution lines. A peer-reviewed study of bird mortality states that their data suggest that < 0.2% of the population of each species is currently affected by mortality or displacement from wind turbine development. They concluded that although the number of windmills is projected to increase tenfold over the next two decades, "population-level impacts on bird populations are unlikely, provided that very sensitive or rare habitats, and areas of concentration for species at risk have been avoided."

Mr. Wiegand’s letter is mostly fiction. Some people cannot see the value, or the beauty, of windmills, and look for any excuse to criticize them.

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