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Wind turbines may have unintended impact on birds  

Recent reports in the Morning Sentinel have described the proposed wind turbine project in Freedom and the potential impact on Avian Haven, a bird rehabilitation center located near the site of the proposed turbines.

In the May 31 article, Andrew Price, project manager for Beaver Ridge Wind, describes modern wind turbines as posing little hazard to birds.

The most current scientific research, however, indicates otherwise. According to articles in the Journal of Wildlife Management (2007 vol. 71, issue 8, pp. 2781-2791; 2008 vol. 72, issue 1, pp. 215-223), standard estimates of avian mortality are highly inaccurate and most likely too low.

Another recent scientific study in The Condor (2008, vol. 1, issue 1, pp. 154-157) suggests that turbine mortality may affect populations in unanticipated ways. This article reported that 64 percent of dead common terns at a modern facility in Belgium were males, attributed to sex differences in foraging. Bats are also at risk from turbines, which is disturbing given the recent decline in bat populations.

Although wind power may be acceptable when properly planned and implemented, the state, in cooperation with regional planners, needs to consider the placement of wind farms, accounting for such factors as migration routes, human habitation and local populations.

Certainly, opening such a facility a short distance away from a bird rehabilitation center that has been operating for a decade and cares for more than 1,000 injured birds annually (see www.avianhaven.org) seems like a bad idea to me.

Julie T. Millard

Albion

Morning Sentinel

30 June 2008

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

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