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Three eagles killed by wind turbines in Kerry

Three White-Tailed Sea Eagles have been killed in wind-turbine strikes in Kerry since a project set up to monitor raptor casualties in the country was initiated in 2011.

The RAPTOR project report (Recording and Addressing Persecution and Threats to Our Raptors) – published by the National Parks and Wildlife Service – reveals Kerry as one of the most dangerous counties in Ireland for birds of prey, where 30 raptors have been killed through poisoning, in the main, between 2007 and 2019.

The report shows that Kerry witnessed the third-highest rate of fatality for birds of prey in the period, with 33 deaths logged in Tipperary and 57 in Wicklow.

Among Kerry’s 30 fatalities since 2007 were 11 white-tailed sea eagles; eight barn owls; seven hen harriers; one common buzzard and one short-eared owl.

The alarming data shows the degree to which poisoning is impacting the nation’s bird of prey populations, with 12 different toxins detected in 214 of the 338 fatalities logged across the Republic in the time-frame.

However, in additional data seen by The Kerryman, it is revealed that three of the white-tailed sea eagle fatalities in Kerry since RAPTOR was set up in 2011 were caused by wind-turbine strikes.

This is believed to be among the first direct evidence of the threat posed to raptors by the renewable technology.

Two of the newly-reintroduced eagles were killed by turbines in 2011, in March and in June – and Ordnance grid references suggest both occurred in the Kenmare Municipal District. Another eagle was killed in a turbine strike in June of 2012, also in the Kenmare district.

Meanwhile, a hen harrier was killed in a turbine strike in April of last year; with kestrels killed in Limerick in 2017, and in Cork in February of last year, in other turbine strikes in the region.

The hen harrier data contradicts assertions often seen in applications for turbines to the effect that harriers fly under turbine rotors.