Sunday, February 13, 2011

Birds And Turbines

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed guidelines to protect wildlife near wind farms.  Properly siting wind farms should be a concern for everyone.  The focus on birds and turbines, however, needs context that sometimes is lost after the poor siting of a very early wind farm in California killed thousands of birds, including eagles. 

A 2005 Forest Service report estimated that buildings kill annually 550 million birds and  power lines another 130 millions.  Cats are another large cause of bird mortality. 

So what about wind turbines? A 2009 Fish and Wildlife report estimated that turbines killed 440,000 birds.

While turbines do cause some bird deaths, wind energy is helping to prevent mass extinction of entire bird species by reducing the amount of heat trapping gas that is being pumped into the atmosphere.  Climate change will have devastating impacts on birds if carbon concentrations reach 450 ppm or 500 ppm, both of which look increasingly likely, and birds especially need every possible means of reducing carbon to be used. 

The main sources of bird deaths--buildings, power lines, and cats--do not help reduce heat trapping gas in the atmosphere but turbines do.

No comments:

Post a Comment