Environmentalists and anyone else attempting to derail wind farms have often turned to the fate of birds for scientific back up. In the case of the environmentalists, I’ll let it pass, but it’s when the senators and other politicians who have never shown an ounce of interest in the outdoors – let alone an animal in the outdoors – jump on the “PROTECT THE BIRDS” bandwagon that gets me riled up (among a host of other things).
Thankfully, new research out of England has lain to rest at least some of the claims saying that wind farms, and to a lesser extent singular wind turbines, represent a real threat to bird populations.
Chip in a few dollars a month to help support independent cleantech coverage that helps to accelerate the cleantech revolution!
Together Claire L. Devereux and Mark J. Whittingham from the School of Biology, Ridley Building, Newcastle University, Newcastle-Upon-Tyn, and Matthew J. H. Denny from Baker Shepherd Gillespie, Worton Rectory Park, Oxford, have published a paper in the Journal of Applied Ecology, entitled ‘Minimal effects of wind turbines on the distribution of wintering farmland birds.’
Their study focused on whether turbine location affected the distribution of four funcational groups of wintering farmland birds; seed-eaters, corvids, gamebirds and Eurasian skylarks. They also studied the affect on the birds ranging from 0-150 meters to 600-750 meters.
In the end, after looking at almost 3,000 birds from 23 different species, only one bird was found to suffer from the turbines; the pheasant.
“This is the first evidence suggesting that the present and future location of large numbers of wind turbines on European farmland is unlikely to have detrimental effects on farmland birds,” said Dr Whittingham. “This should be welcome news for nature conservationists, wind energy companies and policy-makers.”
The study did not reveal the danger of birds colliding with the turbines, but from my layman perspective, I think if a bird is going to run into something we can live without it. (I don’t really mean that, but it sounds funny!)
More on Wind Energy at the GO Network
E.ON Opens 335 MW Wind Power Site in Roscoe, Texas
New Energy Project Will Be Even Larger than the Pickens Plan
US Wind Energy Generation Tops 20 Gigawatts
Study Finds Wind Turbines Killing Bats Without Even Hitting Them