Home / Culture and Society / Science and Technology / Spinning Wind Turbines and Bird Death

Spinning Wind Turbines and Bird Death

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on Tumblr0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

bird.jpgAlmost any subject can be spun for political use and this just might be the case with bird loss and wind turbines. Often times one does not know what to believe. Not at all surprisingly, birds have some political clout in the wind arena. California is considering moving an entire wind farm due to the number of people rallying behind bird loss issues. In Massachusetts, there is a large group of opposition stalling the development of a Nantucket Island Wind farm.[ADBLOCKHERE]

Looking into this area, birds have it tough. Any number of things may cause their individual deaths or their collective demise. In nature, bird collisions and death are a rather common occurrence. Most of these death happen to younger birds. Overall, about 30% of total first-year bird deaths happen by collision. The biggest cause of bird death however is human infringement due to depleting the environment and collisions with person-made objects. So how much are we impacting the birds? The following list shows the approximate number of U.S. annual bird deaths and the cause.

Deaths due to collision:

  • 300,000,000 – buildings
  • 200,000,000 – free roaming cats
  • 150,000,000 – transmission and distribution lines
  • 70,000,000 – trucks and autos
  • 60,000,000 – pesticides
  • 50,000,000 – communication towers – doubling by 2010

As compared to wind turbines the bird mortality rate is about 2.0 birds per year per tower. Also, it is becoming more common practice to site new wind farm developments out of the way of migratory paths and the increased size of the turbine blades also minimize the chance of bird death on collision.

Powered by

About michael

  • I think what is more critical and missed in your statistical information is the birds that are being threatened.

    One of those birds is the California condor. The Audobon Society considered Enron’s placement of the wind turbines to be problematic and a threat to the condors’ survival.

    Not surprisingly, there is also a concern for the number of bats dying. That’s a different issue.

  • I think an important issue not fully addressed in this article, but highly relevant, is feral cats. What to do with them?

    I love cats, and would hate to see thousands of them euthanized wholesale. However, the alternative is the slaughter of countless small mammals and birds, some of which are protected species. And, of course, a feral cat that isn’t fixed or killed will simply breed many more feral cats, thus making the problem even worse.

    There are not enough shelters to house all feral cats, and there ain’t enough money available in local gov’t budgets to fix them all.

    So…as sad as it is to me and all cat lovers, it seems the best choice is to humanely destroy feral cats, for the sake of the rest of the biosphere… :-/

  • Feral cats and condors are not a good comparison. Try mustangs, however, neither feral cats or mustangs are threatened by wind turbines or extinction.

  • One billion birds per year killed by man-made objects!

    I would be interested to know what kinds of birds are the most commonly killed. Does it happen to all species, thus endangering some?

    A more thoughtful approach to where wind turbines are placed would certainly minimize the damage, but there will always be damage, unfortunately.

    Some interesting news about alternative energy sources.

    What’s Next In Science & Technology
    What’s Next In Health

  • There are so many other options for energy, and they don’t take up as much space as windfarms, and certainly won’t look as ugly.

    If we do want to waste land, this is a much better use of it:

    The World’s Most Efficient Solar Electricity Generator

    Quote from the article: “A 10,000 square mile farm could meet the energy needs of the ENTIRE country, without pollution.”

  • n Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is an assessment of the likely human environmental health impact, risk to ecological health, and changes to nature’s services that a project may have.

  • barry

    How many raptors are killed by cats. You are spinning the truth. In NJ one of only 56 peregrines falcons have already been killed. Imagine once the thousands of spinning blades are in place. Raptors like eagles, hawk, falcon and osprey. In Norway there are 100’s of Sea Eagles being killed. Large migratory birds are being killed in large numbers. The noise and death from these large turbines are ignored. A spinning blade at 150 mph 400 feet high is going to kill lots. just because they die from other causes is no excuse.