[ 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

Are wind turbines really that bad for birds?  

Credit:  Adriene Hill, Marketplace, www.publicradio.org 17 August 2010 ~~

Easy Answer: Yes. Somewhere between 58,000 and 440,000 birds each year die because of wind turbines.

Wind farms continue to spring up, as people look for alternative energy sources. I recently did a story about the Terra-Gen wind farm in the Mojave desert, one of the largest in the world. The problem with wind turbines is they are super good at killing birds—especially migratory songbirds. But are we really talking about enough birds to worry about?

I wrote to a bird expert named Albert Manville at the Fish and Wildlife Service to find out. I asked him how the number of birds killed by wind turbines compares to the number killed by windows, cats and cars compares. (According to a publication from the Fish and Wildlife Service, cats might kill 100s of millions of birds a year.)

This is what he told me.

“Comparing bird deaths from wind turbine collisions and barotrauma to other sources of mortality – e.g., building windows, vehicles, cats, or communication towers – is akin to trying to compare apples to kumquats. It confuses and muddies the waters. The bigger issue is one of cumulative impacts, specifically what mortality factor will become the proverbial “straw that breaks the camel’s back.” Will it be wind energy, new building windows, oil spills, or another source(s)? We simply don’t know. While wind mortality may presently be relatively low, impacts are all about risk. The blade-caused collision death of 1 Whooping Crane becomes an impact to its entire population.”

It’s not just the turbine blades that are bad news for birds—wind farms can often disrupt and disturb habitat.

But, there are ways to minimize the problem: “Selecting the most wildlife- and habitat-friendly sites is critically important, and where wind is being developed in high risk areas, collisions could be reduced by blade “feathering” (idling), changes in blade cut-in speeds, setbacks, pylons replacing deadly turbines and other options.”

Want more? Here’s Manville’s paper on minimizing the number of birds killed by wind turbines.

Source:  Adriene Hill, Marketplace, www.publicradio.org 17 August 2010

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.