The Wind Industry’s State-Sanctioned Global Killing Fields

Red kite killed at Navarre Wind farm

Red kite ‘takes one for the Planet’ at Navarre Wind farm.

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In a few years to come, when the generation responsible for the current energy mess reaches its belated age of reason, and has to explain the Genesis and Armageddon of the great wind power fraud, one of the tougher questions for gramps and granny will be why did we build an utterly meaningless power generation source that’s ONLY genuine and consistent output was billions of dead birds and bats; sliced, diced and otherwise slaughtered by fleets of these things, all over the World?

Let there be no doubt, wind farms are avian slaughterhouses:

Bird Carcass Count proves AGL’s Macarthur Wind Farm is an Avian Slaughterhouse

In order to aid those attempting to explain just why birds and bats are being butchered in their millions, it pays to start with how.

To that end, you’ll need to wade through the following blood-bath of articles.

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eagle at waterloo

Wedge-Tailed Eagle meets its ‘Waterloo’ at SA wind farm.

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Eagles at risk
The Examiner
Alexander Humphries
4 October 2015

tasmanian-wedge-tailed-eagle-420x0

A Rare Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagle: wind
turbines smashing it to the brink of extinction.

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WIND turbine strikes have killed at least four wedge-tailed eagles at Tasmania’s Musselroe Wind Farm since May, but a well-known wildlife biologist believes the actual figure could be much higher.

Nick Mooney has a specific research interest in the bird of prey and said he believed only about one-third of bird deaths caused by turbine strikes across the state were recorded.

Wedge-tailed eagles are listed as an endangered species in Tasmania, with fewer than 1000 birds estimated in the wild.

‘‘[Some] of those eagles were found by accident, so it just shows you that the monitoring is essentially inadequate,’’ Mr Mooney said.

‘‘Searching is limited to very close to the turbines, so really something that just drops immediately is likely to be found but not necessarily, because a carcass can be dragged off and eaten by something or dragged under a bush and just not noticed.

‘‘The monitoring is not constant – it’s infrequent enough that birds can be missed.’’

Tasmania has three major wind farms: two at Woolnorth in the North-West and one at Musselroe Bay in the North-East.

The Musselroe Wind Farm is operated by Woolnorth Wind Farm Holdings in a joint venture between Shenhua Clean Energy Holdings and Hydro Tasmania.

Woolnorth Wind Farm Holdings general manager Stephen Ross said an eagle offset program had been completed prior to the farm being fully commissioned.

‘‘All reporting requirements associated with the recent eagle mortalities have been completed and the approved environmental management plans continue to be implemented at Musselroe Wind Farm,’’ Mr Ross said.

The Environmental Protection Authority requires wind farm operators to monitor and report bird and bat injuries and mortalities within 24 hours of the discovery.

No injured eagles have been reported at any wind farm in the past 12 months, and no eagle mortalities have been reported at Woolnorth over the past year.

An EPA spokeswoman said the authority was satisfied that the procedures for detecting dead or injured birds were as thorough as was reasonably practicable.
The Examiner

Ah, the EPA accepting yet another ‘hard-hitting’ environmental study commissioned by the offender itself. No doubt concluding with typically self-serving, made-to-measure results of the kind made famous by Brett Lane:

The ‘tainted’ work of Brett Lane and Associates

With ‘consultants’ like Brett Lane involved in covering up the carnage on behalf of the well-paying clients, little wonder that Nick Mooney fears for the future of Tasmania’s few remaining Wedge-Tailed Eagles, as well he should.

wedge-tailed_eagle_chicks

Has anyone seen our mummy?

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How much Wildlife can USA afford to kill?
The ECOReport
Mark Duchamp
30 April 2015

America’s wind farms are actually slaughtering millions of birds and bats annually.

The Obama administration is issuing 30-year permits for “taking” (killing) bald and golden eagles. The great birds will be legally slaughtered “unintentionally” by lethal wind turbines installed in their breeding territories, and in “dispersion areas” where their young congregate (e.g. Altamont Pass).

By chance (if you believe in coincidences), a timely government study claims wind farms will kill “only” 1.4 million birds yearly by 2030. This new report is just one of many, financed with taxpayers’ money, aimed at convincing the public that additional mortality caused by wind plants is sustainable. – It is not.

Dr. Shawn Smallwood’s 2004 study, spanning four years, estimated that California’s Altamont Pass wind “farm” killed an average of 116 Golden Eagles annually. This adds up to 2,900 dead “goldies” since it was built 25 years ago. Altamont is the biggest sinkhole for the species, but not the only one, and industry-financed research claiming that California’s GE population is stable is but a white-wash.

Beheaded Golden Eagle

Turbine blade causes otherwise sensible
Golden Eagle to completely lose its head.

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Eagles are not the only victims. Smallwood also estimated that Altamont killed an average of 300 red-tailed hawks, 333 American kestrels and 380 burrowing owls annually – plus even more non-raptors, including 2,526 rock doves and 2,557 western meadowlarks.

In 2012, breaking the European omerta on wind farm mortality, the Spanish Ornithological Society (SEO/Birdlife) reviewed actual carcass counts from 136 monitoring studies. They concluded that Spain’s 18,000 wind turbines are killing 6-18 million birds and bats yearly.

Extrapolating that and similar (little publicized) German and Swedish studies, 39,000 U.S. wind turbines would not be killing “only” 440,000 birds (USFWS, 2009) or “just” 573,000 birds and 888,000 bats (Smallwood, 2013), but 13-39 million birds and bats every year!

However, this carnage is being covered up by self-serving and/or politically motivated government agencies, wind industry lobbyists, environmental groups and ornithologists, under a pile of misleading studies paid for with more taxpayer money.

Wildlife expert Jim Wiegand has documented how areas searched under wind turbines are still confined to 200-foot radiuses, even though modern monster turbines catapult 90% of bird and bat carcasses much further. Windfarm owners, operating under voluntary(!) USFWS guidelines, commission studies that search much-too-small areas, look only once every 30-90 days, ensuring that scavengers remove most carcasses, and ignore wounded birds that happen to be found within search perimeters. (Details at MasterResource.org)

These research protocols are designed to guarantee extremely low mortality statistics, hiding the true death tolls – and the USFWS seems inclined to let the deception continue. In addition, bird mortality data are now considered to be the property of windfarm owners, which means the public no longer has a right to know.

Nevertheless, news has leaked that eagles are being hacked to death all across America. This is hardly surprising, as raptors are attracted to wind turbines. They perch on them to rest or scan for prey. They come because turbines are often built in habitats that have abundant food (live or carrion) and good winds for gliding.

Griffon-vultures-Navarre-Spain

Welcome to Griffon Vulture’s ‘Parts Department’…

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Save the Eagles International (STEI) has posted photographs of raptors perched on nacelles or nonmoving blades, and ospreys building a nest on a decommissioned turbine. Moving blades don’t deter them either: videos show a turkey vulture perched on the hub of a spinning turbine, and a griffon vulture being struck. Birds perceive areas traveled by spinning blades as open space, unaware that blade tips are moving at up to 180 mph. Many are focused on prey. These factors make wind turbines “ecological death traps,” wherever they are located.

By 2030, the United States plans to produce 20% of its electricity from wind. That’s nearly six times as much as today, from three or four times as many turbines, striking more flying creatures due to their bigger size (even the mendacious study predicting 1.4 million bird kills recognizes this). Using the higher but still underestimated level of mortality published by Smallwood in 2013, by 2030 our wind turbines would be killing over 3 million birds and 5 million bats annually.

But this is shy of reality by a factor of ten, because 90% of casualties land outside the search perimeter and are not counted. We are thus really talking about an unsustainable death toll of 30 million birds and 50 million bats a year – and more still if we factor in other hide-the-mortality tricks documented by STEI.

This carnage includes protected species that cars and cats rarely kill: eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, condors, whooping cranes, geese, bats and many others. The raptor slaughter will cause rodent populations to soar. Butchery of bats, already being decimated by White Nose Syndrome, will hammer agriculture.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the value of pest-control services to US agriculture provided by bats ranges from $3.7 billion to as much as $53 billion yearly. These chiropters also control forest pests and serve as pollinators. A Swedish study documents their attraction from as far as nine miles away to insects that swarm around wind turbines. Hence the slaughter.

Wind lobbyists claim they need “regulatory certainty.” However, eagle “take” permits will also ensure extinction certainty – and ecological, agricultural, economic and social disasters that America cannot afford.
The ECOReport

4797

Gannets: millions now face the wind industry ‘chop’ …

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Birds face increased blade threat
RE news
28 September 2015

Offshore wind farms off the UK coast could kill up to 12 times as many gannets than previously thought, according to a new study.

The research, by the universities of Leeds, Exeter and Glasgow, suggests that the protected gannets (pictured) fly at a higher height than previously thought, which could mean more birds could be killed than current figures suggest.

Gannets, which breed in the UK between April and September each year, were generally thought to fly below the minimum height of 22 metres above sea level swept by the blades of offshore wind turbines.

But the study says, while this is the case when the birds are simply commuting between their nest sites and distant feeding grounds, gannets fly at an average height of 27 metres above sea level when actively searching and diving for prey.

Also the birds’ feeding grounds overlap extensively with planned wind farm sites in the Firth of Forth, heightening their risk of colliding with turbine blades, the study, published today in the Journal of Applied Ecology, said.

The researchers estimate that up to 12 times more gannets could be killed by turbines than current figures suggest.

However, they added that the figure is based on calculations using current typical turbine sizes, which could be different to those actually installed, and that there is great uncertainty over actual turbine avoidance rates.

Previously data on gannet flight heights were obtained by one of two methods: trained surveyors on boats estimating heights by eye, or radar, which usually has a limited range of about 6km and is costly, the report said.

The researchers called for more sophisticated methods of assessing risk.

Professor Keith Hamer, of the School of Biology at Leeds, oversaw the study

He said: “Our study highlights the shortfalls in current methods widely used to assess potential collision risks from offshore wind farms, and we recommend much greater use of loggers carried by birds to complement existing data from radar studies or observers at sea.”

The study was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC).

A further, more extensive tagging study to improve understanding of gannet flight heights and behaviour has been funded by DECC in 2015.
RE news

eagle-take-permits-dead-eagle

American Icon: no match for Vestas V112s …

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Flying blind: Impact of wind turbines on birds poses more questions than answers
Contra Costa Times
Jeremy Thomas
5 June 2015

LIVERMORE — High above the Altamont Pass, eagles, hawks, ravens and other birds soar, hover and glide across the tawny landscape. From a hilly vantage point in the Vasco Caves parkland, one can see the patchwork of wind turbines dotting the ridgelines and saddles — old and new, large and small, some operating and some not, with others in various stages of dismantling.

East Bay Regional Park District wildlife manager Doug Bell has spent many a day out on these dusty dirt roads over the past 10 years and says what he’s seen is troubling. Once one of the world’s most densely populated areas for golden eagles, the Altamont has become a “population sink” for the protected raptors. Eagles fly in, and too often, they don’t fly out.

Doug Bell, wildlife program manager for East Bay Regional Park District, looks for golden eagles from the mothballed Tres Vaqueros wind farm in the Altamont area of Contra Costa County, Calif., on Friday, May 8, 2015. Questions remain regarding many birds are killed on the Altamont Pass by the wind turbines. The number of estimated deaths due to the turbines ranges from zero to about 6,000 per year. This includes birds of all species including golden eagles. A new "background mortality" study, which will come up with estimates on how many birds in the area might be dying from causes other than the turbines, will be released soon. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group)

Doug Bell looking for golden eagles near the mothballed Tres Vaqueros wind farm in the Altamont area of Contra Costa County.

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“It’s one of the most painful things to come across, an injured or dying eagle,” Bell says. “It’s just such a meaningful symbol … Short of preventing all deaths, which we can’t do, (we need) to get it to a sustainable level so we can still have eagles in 100 or 200 years. What’s going on now is unacceptable.”

Although everyone agrees huge numbers of birds are dying on the Altamont Pass, they don’t agree on how and why they are dying — and what should be done about it.

Environmentalists say it’s a no-brainer: The nearly 5,000 energy-generating turbines there kill birds, and the wind industry should be better regulated. But wind companies point to studies suggesting predators, poison and natural causes are to blame.

Scientists and biologists argue that this so-called “background mortality” is a misnomer, a concept pushed by the companies to shift responsibility and improve their public image.

In an effort to cut avian deaths in half by this year, the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area — a 37,000-acre zone stretching across eastern Alameda and Contra Costa counties that is home to 200 or so species of birds and bats — is undergoing a massive transformation. After a 2007 settlement among Alameda County, three of the four major wind companies and environmental groups, the companies agreed that by October they would repower — replace older-generation turbines with fewer, more efficient, more bird-friendly turbines. The remaining company, Altamont Winds Inc., did not sign the agreement and recently obtained an extension from the county to repower by 2018 — a decision that drew intense criticism by environmentalists.

Still, no one is certain how well repowering will work and how many bird lives will be saved — which means the debate over the role of the turbines is likely to continue.

According to counts conducted by Alameda County from 2005 to 2012, up to 4,600 birds die on Altamont wind farms every year, including about 900 burrowing owls, American kestrels and red-tailed hawks, as well as 40 or so golden eagles. But the counts indicate that 44 percent of the deaths over the past three years of the study occurred while turbines were not operating, leading some to hypothesize that other factors, including natural causes, predators and even rat poison, might be to blame.

Altamont’s Scientific Review Committee, a five-member team that oversees studies conducted by consulting firm ICF International and makes recommendations to the county, responded to the findings by initiating yet another study — funded by wind companies — to look at what other factors besides turbines could be killing birds. That study is scheduled to be presented to the committee in July.

ICF’s project manager, Doug Leslie, said the study makes a strong case that predators are to blame.

“We shut things off in the winter and we expect birds to stop getting killed, but that hasn’t happened,” Leslie said. The study “will provide evidence of what we already knew, that there are birds of prey out there that kill other birds, and those could be confused with the (turbine-related) bird deaths.”

A raven sits atop one of the large blades of a dormant wind turbine at the mothballed Tres Vaqueros wind farm in the Altamont area of Contra Costa County, Calif., on Friday, May 8, 2015. The question of how many birds are killed on the Altamont Pass by the wind turbines located there has once again reared its ugly head. The number of estimated deaths due to the turbines ranges from zero to about 6,000 per year. This includes birds of all species including golden eagles. A new "background mortality" study, which will come up with estimates on how many birds in the area might be dying from causes other than the turbines, will be released soon. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group)

Raven takes in the view at the mothballed Tres Vaqueros wind farm.

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Ecologist and independent researcher Shawn Smallwood, who has conducted counts on the Altamont since 1999 and was a member of the Scientific Review Committee from 2006 to 2011, called the latest analysis “the most useless study that ever happened.”

Smallwood estimates about 10,000 birds are killed every year, “about 99 percent” of them linked to turbines themselves or their infrastructure. Among those, about 60 are golden eagles, he said, making the Altamont the deadliest zone for the species in the United States.

Each of the five committee members declined to comment, some saying they would rather wait until after the committee is disbanded later this year.

Sandra Rivera, Alameda County assistant planning director, who oversees the committee, said the county’s monitoring program is the most extensive and accurate study of bird deaths on the Altamont to date.

The park district’s Bell, however, agreed with Smallwood that bird deaths are severely underestimated because of a lack of resources and a “crippling bias” that doesn’t account for mortally wounded birds able to walk or fly away before dying.

Liz Leyvas, a biologist who has counted dead birds in the Altamont for both ICF and as an independent researcher, said a majority of deaths are caused by direct contact with turbines, whether they are operating or not.

“Birds can die or get sick, but usually if you see dead birds in a wind farm, it died in a turbine,” Leyvas said. “You know because a wing or a limb is missing. The larger birds, like sea gulls, owls, vultures, hawks and eagles, those are dying because they are getting hit.”

During shutdowns, Leyvas said, birds still die by running into the stationary structures during heavy fog or because they’re scanning the ground for food. They are also often electrocuted or maimed by striking power lines linked to the wind farm’s infrastructure.

Smallwood said a major reason for the county’s low estimates is that the search intervals, which averaged 30 to 51 days, were too long to find many small bird carcasses that were quickly snatched up by scavengers. In addition, wind companies restricted where monitoring teams were allowed to go. Smallwood said he left the committee because he found the research “deeply flawed.”

“The science could be better, but a lot of consultants have their hands tied by the wind companies,” Smallwood said. “If they had the flexibility, they could do better counts. It’s a problem, but what could help solve it would be regulatory agencies taking more control.”

Smallwood and Leyvas recently wrapped up monitoring for a three-year study at NextEra Energy’s repowered Vasco Winds project in East Contra Costa County. It’s showing early indications that the newer turbines do in fact reduce deaths among raptors and other birds, Smallwood said. The final report is expected to be published in late fall.

Contra Costa Times

Brolga-and-wind-farm***

More wind farms, fewer brolgas, group warns
The Standard
Peter Collins
10 June 2015

A COMMUNITY group trying to protect brolga habitats in south-west Victoria wants a moratorium on new wind farm proposals until international research is considered. Brolga Recovery Group president Sue Dennis, of Kolora, yesterday told a Senate select committee hearing in Melbourne there were only about 450 of the birds listed in Victoria and may well be the only “pure” brolga left in Australia.“This means it is critical the Victorian brolga population is given the highest level of protection in Australia,” Mrs Dennis said.

Only 450 brolgas are listed in Victoria, the Brolga Recovery Group says.

She said if all proposed wind farms in the south-west proceeded the birds future would be seriously compromised, particularly displacement from limited habitat.

Planning agreements on habitat offsets were “totally inadequate”, she said.

“There is nowhere to go to get justice for wildlife when developers ignore statutory requirements to protect wildlife,” Mrs Dennis told the hearing.

Senators heard the group had asked the state government’s environment and wildlife department for a moratorium on proposed wind farms in known brolga habitats so research findings on the sandhill crane in Texas could be considered.

“This research clearly shows that cranes similar in size and behaviour to our brolga are displaced by wind turbines to a distance of eight kilometres,” Mrs Dennis said in her submission.

She claimed observances that brolgas flew away from the Macarthur wind farm precinct when turbines were operating supported the US findings.

Her group called for buffer distances between nesting and flocking sites to be increased rather than decreased as sought by the industry.

Under questioning Mrs Dennis said she was unable to provide bird count figures beyond 2013, but said a new website had been created to collate reported sightings.

When one senator noted earlier evidence by an energy company that there were no recorded cases of brolgas killed by wind farms in Australia, Mrs Dennis said displacement was the biggest issue.

Her submission referred to a state government flora and fauna document describing the brolga as “significantly prone to future threats which are likely to result in extinction”.
The Standard

cranes_at_Tarifa_courtesy_of_COCN

For Cranes, flying into a wind farm is the easy part …

grulla-montes-cierzo

… getting out alive is another story …

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Bats mortality around wind farms a concern to researchers
Prairie Post
Stephanie Labbe
17 March 2015

It has been estimated thousands of bats have been killed due to wind farms each year in southern Alberta alone. Dr. Robert M.R Barclay, a professor and department head of the department of Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary, says bats are mainly being killed when they get hit by the turbine blades that are moving.

Dead beat bat

Unlike Batfink, his super-sonic sonar-radar couldn’t save him.

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“Those blades are moving fast (about 200 km per hour at the tips). Some bats are killed when they get close to the blades and fly through a zone of low air pressure. This causes the air in their lungs to expand rapidly causing internal damage, much in the way that a scuba diver who comes up too fast experiences problems,” says Dr. Barclay in an e-mail interview.

“At another level, we don’t really know yet why the bats are so close to the turbines. Most of the bats killed are migrating south for the winter and we see all across North America, a large peak in fatalities in late summer and early fall. In Alberta, this involves two main species, the silver-haired bat and the hoary bat. These spend their days in trees. So some scientists hypothesize that the bats see wind turbines as giant trees that may provide suitable roosts for the day, and the bats thus approach them. Others suggest that insects are attracted to the turbines and bats, which in Canada eat nothing but insects, are attracted to the swarms of insects. Yet another suggestion is that the migrating bats mate during their southward migration and to find each other, males and females congregate at tall trees.”

Dr. Barclay explains the first large incident of fatalities of bats at wind farm facilities occurred in 2003 at a site in West Virginia. Before that, the focus was on bird fatalities.

Bat fatalities still occur due to coming in contact with wind farms. However, the bat fatalities have been much higher across North America.

Dr. Barclay says this has seemed to be related to the fact early turbines were quite short and therefore the blades were as high as the migrating bats fly. As turbines have gotten larger, the fatalities of bats have increased. Now, across Canada, Dr. Barclay says about 10 times more bats are killed than birds.

He adds the first evidence of relatively large bat fatalities at Alberta wind facilities was in 2005.

As the total number of turbines increase, so does the number of bat fatalities.

In 2005, Barclay was approached by one of the main wind energy companies in Alberta and that’s when he decided to begin his research. He says the company was called Vision Quest at the time, but is now part of TransAlta. Barclay continues to work closely with them and other companies to try and reduce bat fatalities.

There are several things that need to be done and can be done to reduce the number of bat fatalities from contact with wind farms.

“I believe we need two major things. First, there are ways to reduce fatalities at turbines, as I describe below, and although some companies (TransAlta for example) have adopted some of these measures and in doing so have reduced fatalities considerably, we need more companies to implement these actions,” explains Barclay. “Second, we need better understanding of the basic biology of the species that are being killed. We need to determine how many of these bats there are and what effect on their populations the additional mortality caused by turbines (and other human-caused issues such as habitat loss and climate change) is having. We need to know whether there are separate, identifiable populations of each species and what routes those individuals travel during their migration so we can assess how many wind facilities they encounter on their travels and thus what the cumulative fatality rate is, not just at one wind facility in southern Alberta, for example, but along the entire migratory route.”

During his research, Barclay says while his students were picking up dead bats underneath wind turbines, they found very few birds. He says most studies at other sites across North America have similar findings.

Barclay says there are two ways to keep fatalities of bats to a minimum. The first is to build wind facilities where there are fewer bats, especially migrating ones. Bats tend to migrate through areas with more trees, such as along the foothills.

The second strategy is once a site is built, there are ways to operate the turbines during the migration season so that fewer bats are killed.

“In our research, we showed that bat fatalities can be reduced by changing how the turbines operate at night during the migration season (about a six-week period in late summer and early fall). Bats in Canada are small (the largest weighs about as much as four loonies), so they don’t like to fly when it is very windy. (It’s too hard to do). Thus many studies have shown that most of the bat fatalities happen when the wind is relatively slow,” says Barclay. “Thus, preventing turbine blades from turning when the wind is low, reduces fatalities significantly, while not costing that much in terms of energy production or revenue. Our experiment with TransAlta reduced bat fatalities by over 50 per cent, and later studies elsewhere have found similar results.”
Prairie Post

deadbat

Another gets a wind industry ‘battering’ …

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Wind turbines pose threat to Whooper Swans
The Kerryman
28 January 2015

Locals in Finuge erected posters on Monday highlighting the area’s importance as a wintering ground for the Whooper Swan in the latest move under a campaign against plans to erect ten wind turbines there.

‘Iceland to Finuge – Home of the Whooper Swan’ reads the slogan against a stunning picture of the birds coming into land taken in Finuge on Monday. The first 70 birds of an expected 500 arrived on Monday in their usual migratory path from Iceland.

Finuge’s importance as a winter home for the species is well-known within birdwatching circles nationally with ‘ twitchers’ – as they’re known – coming from as far as Kilkenny and Wexford to observe the graceful creatures feeding and nesting in Finuge.

But it is feared the erection of the ten turbines, if given the go-ahead, could pose a major threat to the birds. Awareness of their presence in Finuge comes as manna from heaven for the hundreds of locals fighting against the wind farm plans.

Birds-Turbines-15-460x256

Bird chomping eco-crucifix prepares for a little more butchery.

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“What I would say is that these birds are very accident prone as low-level fliers with poor vision,” local man Matt Mooney said. “We’re trying to raise awareness of their presence at the moment and the water plant at Scartlea cross is one of the best places to view them from,” he said.

It is believed Finuge is one of the most important sites in the entire country for the species, home to ten per cent of their Irish numbers during the winter.

A survey of the Whooper Swan in 2005 found 9,748 wintering here, but that figure had declined to 5,000 by 2010 amid fears the proliferation of windfarms along the west coast of the country in that time impacted their migration patterns.

Birdlife International found that the emergence of windfarms here posed a ‘most recent threat’ to the Whooper. The threat is not just through direct collision with wind turbine blades, Birdlife International found. It said associated affects of the machinery poses a threat also, not least the impact of the low-frequency noise produced by the turbines on the birds. “We’re the first spot for them to land on their 800-mile trip from Iceland and they roost and breed here,” Mr Mooney added.
The Kerryman

3017097.large

Eagle contemplates merits of ‘better’ regulation & technology …

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Cameras and radars won’t save the eagles
Mark Duchamp
The ECOReport
7 August 2014

Avian radar and video systems are targeting the wind farm market, claiming they are the solution to the turbines’ lethal impact on birds and bats. Save the Eagles International (STEI) and the World Council for Nature (WCFN) wish to alert to the fact that these perceived “solutions” are in fact counterproductive. They will, on the contrary, expand the mortality to important bird habitats and other sensitive areas previously spared by windfarm developers.

The DTBird video system, to name one, consists of a sound-warning device linked to four daylight video-cameras installed on the tower of each wind turbine, covering in principle all angles up to 150 meters away, and 50% to 300 meters. This system works only during daylight hours, so it is of no use for saving bats, migrating songbirds (which travel by night to avoid over-heating), and other useful creatures like owls.

Yet, wind turbines kill owls by the thousand – e.g. about 270 a year at the Altamont Pass wind farm in California. Regarding song birds, these are butchered by the million by the fast moving blade tips. As for bats, which are attracted to insects that swarm around wind turbines, the massacre is even greater. All this killing, by the way, will have serious consequences for agriculture, because bats and owls help control insects and rodents, respectively.

Thus, DTBird is useless for stopping 75-85% of the mortality caused by wind turbines. And as we shall see from a study made at Smola, Norway, it is only effective for scaring away 7% of the birds that approach wind turbines during the day.

Let’s do the maths: 7% of 15-25% = 1 – 1.75%. This means that DTBird, during the periods when all its cameras and related equipment are working perfectly, can reduce total mortality at wind farms by 1.75% at best.

DTbird includes a software said to be able to recognize birds from insects, falling leaves and other unwanted visual effects. It is also said to automatically trigger a dissuading sound when signals identified as birds are getting too close to the turbine. But if we read the evaluation made by NINA (Norwegian Institute for Nature Research), which tested the system during 6 months for two wind turbines on the island of Smola, it so happens that the warning mechanism is sometimes triggered by raindrops, insects and shifting clouds (p14). NINA warns that these “false positives” could cause habituation, reducing the effectiveness of the dissuasion (p3).

In any event, habituation or not, the performance of the DTBird video-system is dismal: “In only 7% of all video sequences where warning/dissuasion was iniciated, was a visible flight response observed” (p18). In other words, when it works, DTBird is ineffective at scaring away 93% of the birds that approach its wind turbine in the daytime.

If this weren’t enough, breakdowns are frequent. During the 6-month trial at the hands of NINA technicians, in spring and summer, the 8 DTBird cameras malfunctioned 3 times, and the detection module for one of the two turbines was out of order for a month (5). One can imagine how difficult it would be to maintain in excellent working order, say 10 modules and 40 video-cameras installed on 10 wind turbines, during 25 years (including winters).

Thus, even if the system were effective at 100% instead of 7% (or 1.75%), an army of state inspectors would be needed. They would have to check daily on the wind farm assigned to them, to ensure that each turbine effectively emits dissuading sounds when birds come close, and that the creatures actually react by avoiding the turbine. For we must remember that, in most countries, certain birds are so rare that the death of a single individual could have a significant impact on the conservation status of its population – e.g. the Bonelli’s Eagle in France .

This gives an idea of how enormous the task would be, to ensure that the cameras and detection modules may be relied upon every day of the year. So much so that it would be unrealistic to consider mitigation by electronic devices, whichever the system or its maker.

Avian radars, which are supposed to detect birds and stop wind turbines in time to avoid collisions, are an equally unrealistic “solution”. Actually, once the wind turbines are installed, and as governments can’t afford an army of uncorruptible “windspectors”, the radar unit is quite simply left unused. At the Kennedy Ranch wind farm in Texas, it was found that the avian radar had not stopped a single wind turbine in 18 months of operation. Actually, a witness watched in horror as a pelican got whacked out of the sky (8).

It’s a fact that has to do with human nature: windfarm owners won’t cut into their profits willingly. Indeed, stopping wind turbines abruptly several times a day wears the brakes and lowers production. It is also costly to maintain in excellent working order, 365 days a year, dozens of cameras – half of them facing the sky (and the rain) – and associated sensitive electronic equipment.

In a nutshell, video and radar systems may look good on paper, but they are impractical. In fact, their only use is to help developers obtain planning approvals for wind turbines in protected bird flyways and other sensitive habitats. They are thus counterproductive, helping destroy our most valued wildlife. Logically, they should be banned altogether from windfarm projects, as officials often base their favourable decisions on mere plans to install such mitigation systems, whether or not these will prove effective in the end.
The ECOReport

marcduchamp9_0

Turbine tussle sees Whooping Crane lose its desire to “whoop” …

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. gaillimheach14 says:

    Invaluable research well illustrated. Wish I could share it on Facebook.

  2. In this era of open, transparent and dare I say fair and just enlightened government surely it’s reasonable to expect that those who kill or destroy native wild life should be punished equally?

    Number of the Week: $8,938,547 per Bird? The BP settlement with federal, state, and local governments came to $20.8 Billion, which does not include civil law suits and the previous settlement for possible crimes. Almost immediately after the blow-out occurred, the US Fish and Wildlife Service began advertising for and collecting injured or dead animals. The April 23, 2011 TWTW reported that the total number of “dead animals with visible oil” collected by the Fish and Wildlife Service along the Gulf Coast for the year following the Gulf spill (as of April 14, 2011) were 2303 birds; 18 sea turtles, 10 mammals; and 0 other reptiles This does not imply that the animals died from the oil. For example, autopsies of sea turtles indicated that some, at least, died of suffocation, possibly while trapped in the nets of fishing trawlers.

    Assume all the dead animals are attributable to the spill. Using bureaucratic techniques of animal units, count a dead reptile as one unit, a dead bird as two units, and a dead mammal as three units. The total animal units is 4654, with the pollution penalties amounting to $4,469,274 per animal unit, or $4,469,274 per reptile, $8,938,547 per bird, and $13,407,821 per mammal. Would those who calculate the contrived social cost of carbon use such numbers to calculate the social cost of wind farms, which kill soaring birds and bats (mammals)? See
    http://www.fws.gov/home/dhoilspill/pdfs/ConsolidatedWildlifeTable042011.pdf

    So how many free bird kill permits are handed out to the wind industry?

    • E Griffiths says:

      If such penalties were applied to wind farms the whole industry would have been financially bankrupt a long time ago. This would also balance the industry’s ethos of moral bankrupty 😦

  3. Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:

    Obviously biased, but can’t get around the basic points. Industrial windmills are bird and bat choppers.

    The saddest part is how worthless windmills are regardless. Windmills will never provide meaningful power to the overall grid.

  4. Having a place 1.5kms from the Macarthur wind factory. The fox numbers have really increased, as they do no baiting over the thousands of acres they manage. As we know foxes prefer birds as they don’t catch that many but maybe that’s why AGL won’t control the foxes as they clean up a lot of the evidence – dead birds that is. I spoke to dumb Dennis’s office before I started lambing, they eventually got back to me and told me to contact AGL’s Brendan Ryan. Which I won’t, after we have been ridiculed and abused for complaining about the noise from the turbines by these company representatives. As it probably affects one hundred thousand lambing ewes neighboring the wind factory I have lost 20 percent of my lambs this year, so they are the neighbors from hell.

  5. Grant Winberg says:

    It is clear that the term ‘for the greater good’ is the easy one liner for those culpable developers, financiers, public servants and politicians who are responsible.
    Whether a bat, a vulture or a eagle (symbols for so many proud countries), none deserve to be sacrificed ‘for the greater good’. And so unnecessarily. Shame.

  6. Reblogged this on Mbafn's Blog and commented:
    One slices them, the other “alternative” fries them!!

  7. The amazing fact of this horrid saga is that the Greens, WWF and all the other “concerned” party of the green persuasion, are utterly silent.

    They will move heaven and earth to stop, whatever it may be, if a single microbe is at risk of being trampled. But when it comes to their “pet Projects” of bird mincers and bird friers, nobody is around to help the wildlife. It beggars belief that the Christine WindMilnes of this world and the other “permanently Outraged”, SHY included, are not in the street demanding an end to the State sanctioned slaughter. Then again….. maybe that’s were the gravy train ends up???

  8. I have never been able to understand why the Greenies have been happy to totally ignore this tragic waste of bird life. It is obvious and certain that it occurs, compared with the very dubious advantages which they see in the output from the windmills. A great deal more honesty on this subject might reduce the disdain I have for the Green hypocrites!

  9. Strange that the UK RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) supports turbines!??..

  10. Martin Hayles says:

    And, then there are the people, within rural communities desecrated, devastated and deserted by their political and corrupted public servant peers and juniors, who have done nothing wrong at all.

    And, I am personally commenting on a yet to be built wind farm, which is the “Ceres Project” on Yorke Peninsula, that has been approved by a notorious government and given approval, whilst failing to meet 54 conditions of approval of the planning departments own act.

    Their can be no other comprehension, understanding of this situation that within the hidden corridors of power a serious breach of protocol has occurred and continues to occur.

    I ask the powers to be, and they know who they are, how can you continue to facilitate such an injustice upon your fellow citizens.

    I truly hope Karma deals with you adequately and it be more along Lennon’s idea, as opposed to that which is unrecognisable.

  11. Jim McNeilage says:

    How can we follow a money trail ? There must be one. Someone is making a fortune with this con.

    • E Griffiths says:

      A good start would be to find out how much funding the windustry contributes to the coffers of the political parties that support wind power “technology”

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