Sunday 14 February 2010

How many birds does each wind turbine kill each year?

I've heard it said that grouse do very nicely thank you on the ground underneath wind turbines - thanks to said wind turbines' ability to chop any marauding birds of prey out of the sky. The grouse, of course, never get up high enough to be at risk.

I've seen no proof, however, and it could just be one of those stories folks tell after a few drinks.

Except that in the States, it seems there's quite a haul of decapitated birds - eagles included - piling up under wind turbines. The worryingly angry and ill-informed Raptor Politics blog pointed me to this link, which has some remarkable photos including this decapitated eagle:

Look further and you'll find stuff like this:

When I return to Skye later this year, I think I'll take a stroll up that glen where I shot my first walked-up grouse all those years ago - the one they've desecrated with a load of stonking great windmills - and see what's lying underneath them. It's about three quarters of a mile from a golden eagle eyrie, and always used to have several pairs of buzzards and the odd peregrine.

Meanwhile the RSPB seem to think they're a fine idea. Even though they've said that wind turbines kill birds. Funny that, they're not half so pragmatic when they think birds of prey are being killed by gamekeepers.


vicky said...

What a horrible video. Surely an ultrasonic deterrent or something can be added to turbines if we have to have them? Was any research done on the blade colour to reduce bird strike? I personally consider these turbines blots on the landscape and there is quite a lot of evidence that they will never make up for the energy used to make them in the 'green' power they provide. Another case of act first think later?

Anonymous said...

"The worryingly angry and ill-informed Raptor Politics blog ... "

Hey - that's us. You'd be worried too if you knew what we know! ;-)

James Marchington said...

Guys, if you check through my writing here and on the RSPB site, you'll realise I'm as passionate about protecting raptors as I am about shooting - and yes the two can go hand in hand.

The John Miles piece on your site is an ill-informed and deliberately misleading rant, and does you no favours.

How's about you try working with shooting, rather than assuming every shooter is inherently evil - then we could really make some progress.

Anonymous said...

I can't speak for all, but personally I don't believe every shooter is 'inherently evil'. Raptor persecution is carried out by gamekeepers on behalf of shoot owners in my experience - not the punters who pay to shoot the grouse and pheasant.

If it is the latter you are suggesting we should work with, then maybe an accord is possible.

James Marchington said...

Good to hear it, Mr Anon. Shooters are a hugely diverse bunch, from the lone wildfowler to the 'rabbit for the pot' type, etc, through to the Duke of Wherever with his private army of gamekeepers. At the top end of the scale there is huge money to be made and lost, and there's the rub. Folks like that care only for the £££s and will trample all over the wildlife to get it. They're the greedy b***s who will get my sport banned - and I'm as keen to see them gone as you are.

vicky said...

I'm in a very co-operative mood my suggestion would be that birdwatching groups could give incentives to shooting estates which support raptors. Have any of the organisations offered to PAY for the priveledge of watching hen harriers and golden eagles? If estates got an income from raptors it may make up for decreased bags or extra work caused by them. It could also provide valuable income to local B+B's outside of the normal shooting and tourist seasons. If there are already such forward thinking estates then perhaps they should get page space in Sporting Shooter?!

Meconopsis said...

Me Anon

Maybe you should thank folk like my uncle for letting the Trough of Bowland Eagle Owls loose.

They are a hit with the bird folk and do a good job with other BOP


Sooty said...

Do not see much good from wind turbines and I worry about Eagle deaths from them if Eagles in any area near them.Always pleased to see you not against raptors.

Mac Cyberman said...

We need to tell the truth about what's being done to these Raptors. There are a lot of people trying help these birds, the true aspect here is, yes these turbines kill, but they do not always kill, they are left to suffer. This clip only shows what someone wants you to see and make you think the bird was killed. The bird does not die it is rescued see the
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