Avian Exodus: Loons Vacate Vast Tracts of North Sea To Escape Wind Turbines

The wind industry’s rampant bird and bat slaughter is an inconvenient truth, to be sure.

The wholesale slaughter of millions of birds and bats – includes rare, endangered and majestic species, like America’s iconic bald and golden eagles. The default response from the wind industry is to lie like fury and – when the corpses can no longer be hidden and the lying fails – to issue court proceedings to literally bury those facts (see our post here).

A recent Indian study establish that wind turbines are responsible for slaughtering 75% of local raptors. Now a German study has found that North Sea loons are being driven from vast tracts of their favoured hunting and nesting grounds by offshore wind turbines.

Loons Are Getting Squeezed By Wind Farms
Hakai Magazine
Jenny Howard
14 January 2019

Wind turbines don’t just wallop birds that collide with their spinning blades, they also shift where birds choose to fly and land. A new study shows that wind farms in the German North Sea have squeezed loons into a smaller resting spot along their spring migration route, which could make it harder for them to find food. Scientists suggest that as wind energy developments become more common, these subtler effects need to be considered.

It has been estimated that 140,000 to 328,000 birds are killed by wind turbines each year in the United States alone. Birds of prey, like golden eagles, are hit hard by turbines because they use the same areas as wind farms—open expanses, such as farmlands, that are good for hunting and where strong winds act as highways for migration. Some birds, including sea ducks, have shifted their migration routes to avoid wind farms. That prevents collisions, but the altered flights can move the birds away from their food sources and waste precious energy if they have to fly farther.

Bettina Mendel at Kiel University in Germany and her colleagues set out to investigate the impact of wind farms in the German North Sea. More than 20,000 loons use this area to forage during their spring migration before returning to inland lakes to breed in the summer.

A marine protected area covering 3,135 square kilometers was established by the German government to preserve this loon habitat in 2005, but a cluster of offshore wind farms had already been approved inside and along the edge of the protected area. Today, 17 wind farms operate within the German North Sea, with five more under construction.

Loons don’t typically collide with wind turbines: they fly no more than 10 meters above sea level, whereas turbine blades typically spin 30 meters above the water. But Mendel and her colleagues searched for other effects.

They analyzed aerial and ship-based surveys from 2000 to 2017 to work out where the loons preferred to rest during their spring migration before and after the construction of four wind farms in 2014 and 2015. They found that the loons moved from two preferred areas (one where a wind farm had been built) to one hotspot smack in the middle of two farms. By avoiding wind farms, the birds lost the use of 275 square kilometers, or about nine percent, of the protected area. The authors note that squeezing loons into a smaller space could lead to more competition for food and, potentially, increased mortality.

Emma Kelsey, a wildlife biologist with the US Geological Survey in Santa Cruz, California, who has studied how offshore wind farms affect marine birds, calls the study “a big step forward” in understanding the indirect effects of wind farms. Those indirect effects, she notes, are less obvious but “potentially more impactful.”
Hakai Magazine

About stopthesethings

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


  1. John Leahey says:


    This is one of the items I referred to about wind farms and birds.

  2. Jackie Rovensky says:

    Common-sense that even a child could understand should have wakened those authorised to approve these things that the environment will loose out far sooner and with a greater devastation than it will if we made sensible choices in how our electrical power is produced.
    For the UN to sit there and say the only way to save the world is to destroy our energy sources, our industries, our way of life AND our environment is/was a catastrophic failure of common-sense.
    But then who are we to judge them – they, after all, want to ensure they don’t overexert themselves by overworking their brains, especially when there are those ready to take up the slack – as long as they get a clear highway to magnificent profits.
    Its so easy being a ‘world leader’ working for the UN when all you have to do is transfer your responsibility to people with an economic reason to work hard to ensure they achieve their personal success – and be buggered to the world and its environments.
    This lack of common-sense and interest is repeated in our State and Federal Environmental Departments. They would rather sit on their hands than do some work into creating plausible and adequate Regulations and Standards for these projects to ensure they do not damage our sensitive environments and all that lives in them. They fail to accept that Standards written by the industry itself could never be relied upon to secure our environments, that they are only suitable to meet the industries desires.
    The time both the UN and our Environmental bodies wake up it will be too late for the flora, fauna and avian species that these things have and will destroy – by strike or by environmental destruction it makes no difference they will still be lost to us and future generations.
    We can’t give up hope and we can’t let these deluded fools win. We need to keep striking back at all the misinformation they distribute, we need to stop them invading our schools, our media and our lives.
    We are strong and we can win, we just have to keep working to ensure more people join the fight.

  3. “The Loons have the sense to avoid the wind turbines… It’s too bad the Windweasels and Windpushers, are lacking the intelligence to do the same

  4. Son of a goat says:

    In light of the debacle with regards to mass blackouts and exorbitant pricing of power in Victoria today, I have re-posted my comments from yesterday.

    As Australia Day is upon us, I sit in bewilderment at the state of Australia power networks. it is with a deep sense of sadness that I see the deception of the rent seekers and zealots in deceiving their fellow Australians in regards to renewables and their ability to power Australia’s electricity network.

    In breaking news, the Lovely Audrey was last seen this evening running down St Kilda road heading for Pt Philip bay in nothing but a leopard print bikini and Jimmy Choo high heels screaming “the sky is falling, the sky is falling.”

    She was closely followed by Charismatic Kane on a carbon fibre bike, grim faced and mumbling something about climate change effecting the performance of his tyres.

    Dear Angus,

    Having the Lovely Audrey in charge of the Australian electricity market is a bit like having Ivan Milat running Australian Contiki tours.

    Come on Angus, you can’t have a zealot running the show.
    Obfuscation of the facts, closing down industry in hot weather, exorbitant pricing and the very grave risk of citizens dying.
    We have zealots like the renewable energy Messiah and Yoda Yates condemning coal generators for a scheduled stoppage and maintenance.

    On one hand they want coal working, on the other hand they don’t?

    A coal generator competes against subsidized wind, told its unwanted and no investor will touch it and then they wonder why there are small outages.

    Meanwhile they dare not mention that during the peak of today’s heat wave coal and gas were chugging away producing 27,000 Mw/h of generation with a peak demand of around 36,000 Mw/h.

    Yet the elephant in the room, wind energy was producing a measly 1000 to 1500 Mw/h, with an installed capacity of around 5000Mw.
    It makes you wonder whether the Messiah and Yoda have suffered from their very own personal form of “load shedding.”

    Angus, today’s events in the Australian electricity market illustrate how futile the cries for more renewable generation are.

    STT, I and others can do no more.

    Cometh the hour, Cometh the man.

    Angus, it’s time to bring on more base load generation, yes there will be an uproar by some and it might even cost the Libs an election.

    At the end of the day you have to ask if you don’t take on the zealots, you have to ask why you even took on the job?

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