Wind turbines kill a few birds


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energy Wind turbines kill a few birds

Prompted by the article in the Houston Chronicle, which related that the 7000+ wind turbines in Altamont Pass have killed an estimated 22,000 birds in 20 years, the news and discussion site Slashdot ran a thread entitled Wind turbines kill a few birds. The title pretty much sums up the mood of the discussion, which is that turbines are not specifically dangerous to birds - far more birds die flying into glass windows for example, and other energy forms also kill birds in far greater numbers - notably motor cars, and oil spills from tankers.

Of course the glib comments don't tell the whole story, but I do rather think the original article is a non-news item. The overall number of birds killed is insignificant - a greater problem is where turbines are sited on migratory paths for specific species (where American eagles are always mentioned), where there may be a problem. In summary, it's necessary to consider bird flight patterns when siting the turbines, but not a reason to stop turbines altogether! Experience has also shown how to space rows of turbines so they kill less birds, and modern blades rotate slower than earlier models, so are less likely to hit birds anyway, and today's mono-towers are less attractive to birds than the early open lattice structures were.
See also:Altamont Pass turbine owners taken to court over bird kills (15/1/04)
Item: #190, Posted: 1/1/04.


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