[ exact phrase in "" • results by date ]

[ Google-powered • results by relevance ]


News Home

Subscribe to RSS feed

Add NWW headlines to your site (click here)

Sign up for daily updates

Keep Wind Watch online and independent!

Donate $10

Donate $5

Selected Documents

All Documents

Research Links


Press Releases


Publications & Products

Photos & Graphics


Allied Groups

Energy is spent to protect birds from threat of power lines  

Scientists are increasingly concerned about the number of birds killed by running into power lines and wind turbines, said Al Manville, a senior wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but there are reports of success in preventing such incidents – at least in the case of the power lines.

More lines and turbines are planned in coming years, which could put several species of birds at risk, Manville said.

“We’ve got to address our carbon footprint and deal with climate change,” he said, “but we want to make sure, in the process, we don’t create new problems.”

If a project taking place in the Dakotas is successful, researchers say, it could hold implications throughout the Central Flyway, a major bird migration route that stretches from the Dakotas to Texas.

The study, underway near Coleharbor, N.D., by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Western Area Power Administration, involves placing “diverters” on power lines where large numbers of birds fly between two local lakes. The coil-like diverters are often brightly colored and designed to spin or move in the wind. They give birds a visual cue to avoid the line.

To test the efficiency of the diverters, biologists collect and count the corpses of fallen birds beneath power lines. In 2006, before the diverters were in place, 429 dead birds were counted, said Misti Schriner, a biologist with the Western Area Power Administration.

After the devices were put in place, 344 dead birds were collected in 2007.

“I do believe there will be a decline,” Schriner said. Final results won’t be in for several months. Schriner noted that about 20% of the dead birds collected in this project were American coots, a common water bird. In central Nebraska, there are concerns about endangered whooping cranes and other species colliding with power lines near the Platte River, said Brad Mellema, director of the Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at the Rowe Sanctuary.

Only about 260 whooping cranes – enormous white birds with wingspans of up to 7 feet – exist in the Central Flyway, he said. Diverters have been put on lines for about a year, and Mellema expects to learn more about their effectiveness in coming months.

Researchers in San Joaquin County, Calif., are encouraged by a 60% reduction in bird fatalities after power lines were equipped with diverters, said Marcus Yee, whose findings were released in January.

In Northern California, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study found more than 1,000 raptors were killed annually by wind-power facilities there. The area includes one of the nation’s largest concentrations of wind turbines in the Altamont Pass region.

In West Virginia, more than 2,000 bats were killed in a seven-month period in an area with 44 wind turbines, according to the GAO report. Bats are the primary predator of many insects, including some crop-damaging bugs, said Mike Duran, a vertebrate zoologist with the Nature Conservancy.

It was difficult for scientists to draw conclusions about wind power’s impact on wildlife because deaths of birds and other wildlife vary greatly from one region to another, the GAO report states.

Current research is important, because “birds play a key role in the ecosystem,” said Greg Butcher, director of bird conservation at the National Audubon Society.

“They serve as the canary in the coal mine,” he said. “We find that if humans are doing things in the environment that are bad for birds, it’s a good sign they’re doing things that are bad for humans as well.”

By Jeff Martin, USA TODAY

Martin reports for the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, S.D.


23 June 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding
Donate $5 PayPal Donate


News Watch Home

Get the Facts Follow Wind Watch on Twitter

Wind Watch on Facebook


© National Wind Watch, Inc.
Use of copyrighted material adheres to Fair Use.
"Wind Watch" is a registered trademark.