Wind farms can now apply to be bird-killing zones. Turbine owners can seek permits to accidentally kill birds – including eagles – without penalties.
Here’s how unfriendly the skies have become for birds:
- Wind farms killed about 573,000 birds of all species in the United States last year.
- More than 67 bald and golden eagles have been killed by wind turbines in the United States since 2008.
- The new rule allows wind farms to bypass the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and extends bird-killing permits from five to 30 years.
- There are about 10,000 eagles in the lower 48 states.
- There were 108 bald eagles in Massachusetts in 2012.
- Bald and golden eagles are federally protected, but no longer on the endangered species list.
- Eagles in flight don’t look up as they scan for food below, missing turbine blades until it’s too late.
Wind turbine facts:
- Turbines can be 30 stories high.
- The blades are as long as the wingspan on a passenger jet.
- The blades can reach speeds of up to 170 mph, creating a tornado-like vortex.
SOURCES: U.S. Fish and Wildlife; National Audubon Society; Wildlife Society; Associated Press
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