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Rare bird killed by wind turbine  

A rare bird has been killed after getting caught in the blade of a wind turbine in Stirlingshire.

The red kite, one of the rarest birds in the UK, was discovered at the Braes of Doune wind farm near Stirling.

Wind farm owner Airtricity said the death had been “unfortunate” and added that it had carried out a risk assessment on the red kite population.

This, it said, was done in consultation with other agencies such as the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

Alan Baker, chief executive of Airtricity in Scotland, said: “All (agencies) agreed that while there was some risk of collisions, the effects were likely to be small and not significant to the Central Scotland red kite population.

“More analysis was carried out at this site than at almost any other wind farm to date.

“As part of the conditions of consent for the site, and as part of responsible management and monitoring, Airtricity was required to commission ongoing research and monitoring of the red kites, guided by a steering group comprising the Scottish Executive, SNH and RSPB.”

He added: “We will, however, continue careful monitoring and discuss any necessary actions with the steering group.”

The red kite was once commonplace throughout rural and urban Britain.

But persecution by game breeders, taxidermists and egg collectors, especially in Victorian times, saw its numbers plummet.

By the mid 20th Century the species was in such decline that only 30 birds remained in the UK in an isolated population in mid-Wales.

Ther have now been several successful reintroduction schemes across the country.

Last month, RSPB Scotland was awarded £48,500 by the Heritage Lottery Fund for a project to help reintroduce red kites to Aberdeenshire.

The three-year scheme will release about 90 young birds and monitor their progress.

The Braes of Doune windfarm will generate up to 98 megawatts from 49 turbines, enough clean energy to meet the average electricity needs of 55,000 homes.

BBC News

10 July 2007

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