November 9, 2008
Italy, Letters, Wildlife

Red kites disappearing from Italian regions after windfarm construction

Stefano Allavena

Red Kites have disappeared in an area of hills and low mountains named “Appennino Dauno”, in the province of Foggia, Puglia Region, and in nearby areas in the provinces of Avellino and Benevento, in the Campania Region, in Southern Italy, following the construction of wind farms.

On the Daunia Mountains (Appennino Dauno), in the Province of Foggia near the border with the Province of Benevento, there were 12-15 pairs before the construction of wind farms, now there is 1 pair. In the Province of Benevento The Red Kite is practically present no more as a breeding species after the construction of wind farms. Some birds occasionally wander into the area coming from other populations of the Molise Region and particularly of the Basilicata Region.

The population of the Puglia Region (in the Province of Foggia) was very important for connecting the Central Appennine and Basilicata Region.

In the Province of Avellino (Campania Region) there was a winter roosting of 80-130 Red Kites until 10 years ago. In the second half of the 1990s, large wind farms were built in the area, continuing to increase greatly in the following years. In the last two years a maximum of 8 birds was found in the roosting place. Local ornithologists think that the reason of this dramatic decrease is the construction of wind farms. I agree with them completely.

Also, it seems that Red Kites leave the roosting place before sunrise when it is still dark. This behavior evidently increases the probability of collision with the rotating blades of wind towers.

Stefano Allavena is the president of Associazione per la Tutela degli Uccelli Rapaci e dei loro Ambienti (ALTURA; Association for Protection of Birds of Prey and of Their Habitats).

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