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Canada ranks top bird killers – wind turbines not even close to top

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Billion dollar businesses and billion dollar interests have a lot of money they can use to attack their up-and-coming competitors. Even if those competitors are driven by clear thinking and clean energy, money directed in an effective way can make them look bad. Promoting misinformation lacks integrity, but it’s very common within large industries and economic sectors.

People are busy. They do not have the time to research each myth out there. Thus, we sometimes get fooled. Here at CleanTechnica, we try to make it a bit easier to get some straight-up, correct information. Greed-driven myths hurt the world, and our #1 goal is simply to help the world.

top bird killers bird deaths

I came upon this bird directly in front of the door of my local library. The bird hit the glass of the library door and died. Yes, 3rd on the list of things that cause birds to die, is collisions with buildings.

Peter Sinclair provides us with The List of Top Bird Killers (via CBC):

1. Domestic and feral cats: 200 million
2. Power lines, collisions and electrocutions: 25 million
3. Collisions with houses or buildings: 25 million
4. Vehicle collisions: 14 million
5. Game bird hunting: 5 million
6. Agricultural pesticides 2.7 million
7. Agricultural mowing: 2.2 million young birds, equivalent to one million adult birds
8. Commercial forestry: 1.4 million nests, equivalent to 900,000 adult birds
9. Communications towers: 220,000

A resource that cannot be depleted or sacrificed is wind. Wind is not toxic (unless it carries pesticides, that is). Wind cuts global warming pollutionWind turbines use much, much less water than fossil fuel power plants, nuclear power plants, and even solar power plants. Wind does not use slave labor to produce it. (If I am wrong about this, please comment and let us know.)

Another Peter, Peter Singer also communicates change and generates extraordinary vibrations of thought considering humanitarian value systems. Central reasoning of Peter Singer is bestowed as follows: “If we can prevent something bad without sacrificing anything of comparable significance, we ought to do it.”

Wind power doesn’t even make the list above. Wind turbines have been increasingly improved in a way as to minimize bird deaths. We need wind power, and it’s nice to know that it’s not the big bird killer it’s made out to be. For sure, there is room for improvement, but there almost always is, and that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use the best, cleanest, safest options we have.

First published at Cleantechnica. Reproduced with permission.

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  • Ian Garradd

    I know what to say next time someone tells me that wind turbines kill birds.

    • Pedro

      But the infra sound makes them all deaf, then Sylvester sneaks up on them.

  • wideEyedPupil

    ⤴ You can also tell them that the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in the UK announced plans earlier this year to erect a massive wind turbine at its headquarters in Sandy, Bedfordshire. Story below.

    http://reneweconomy.com.au/2012/bird-protection-charity-builds-a-wind-turbine-sends-a-message-63075

  • jagiela

    Wind doesn’t make the list for the simple reason that we use so little of it. If, however, wind were to grow in importance by a factor of hundred like its proponents want, the bird slaughter would rise with it. Its all pretty simple

    Then there is the type of bird killed- windmills kill the longer lived predators rather than the shorter lived prey. Replenishment therefore would take a much longer time than the birds killed in an oil spill which are replaced within about 90 days

    • alpha2actual

      Altamont Pass Wind Farm kills 4700 birds on average annually, 1300 of which are raptors of which 70 are Golden Eagles. That’s the problem, domestic and feral cats don’t kill Golden and Bald eagles fact is eagles kill cats. Wind turbine farm’s adverse impact on bat populations should be noted. Bats are natures pesticide, it has been calculated that one bat is as effective as $74 of chemical pesticide over the course of a growing season. The fact that wind turbines kill bats has been observed for decades but it has been only recently that wind farm induced fatalities on autumn migratory bat population have been studied. Bats are attracted to wind turbines for several reasons, motion, harmonics, and tracking insects which are also attracted by the turbines. The problem is that the bat doesn’t have to make contact with the blade to be a fatality. The change in air pressure is enough to collapse the lungs of the bat a condition known as Barotrauma. This is a particularly dangerous time for bats particularly for some endangered species because of White Nose Syndrome discovered in 2006 which is rapidly spreading. This fungus is 95% fatal and has killed between 5.7 million to 6.7 bats.

      • wideEyedPupil

        This fungus which is way more responsible for bat deaths than wind turbines, it wouldn’t have anything to do with agricultural chemicals would it? And where is the critique of them, where is the nimby movement trolling the web about conventional chemical farming which has many other adverse effects? I can tell you them major reason bats in Australia are dying and under pressure, habitat loss (land clearing) and habitat degradation (loss of amount water available to flowering plants) due to climate change.

        Wind power is one of the most effective tools we have to avert climate change. Certainly if there are localised incidents, particularly on raptors they need to be investigated and solutions found. My understanding is that every year engineering improvements are incrementally found to reduce bird incidents and lower sound and ‘ultrasound’ output, which is not considered by any science to be a health risk to humans or farm animals. Unfortunately some small number of bird deaths is not a good enough reason to no bother guaranteeing we mitigate the worst of mad made climate change. I would like to see a reference for your claimed 4700 bird deaths from one wind farm including 1300 raptors a year, I have never seen numbers anything like that associated with a wind farm. I would be extremely surprised if that was even the local population size of raptors in one location in Australia, let alone death rate. Very suspicious to me.

        http://reneweconomy.com.au/2012/bird-protection-charity-builds-a-wind-turbine-sends-a-message-63075

        ^ Do you think this would be happening if on balance wind turbines are not good

        • alpha2actual

          Hint wikipedia. Climate Change? You mean Anthropogenic Climate Change, no? It irks me when people conflate Anthropogenic Climate Change with Climate Change and Anthropogenic Global Warming with Global Warming. Climate Change is studied by Paleoclimatologists who work with ice and ocean sediment cores. They are interested in time frames of tens and hundreds of thousands of years and geological epochs. For instance, the climate record shows that there have been 5 interglacial (warm) and 4 glacial (cold) episodes during the current 400,000 record. We are obviously enjoying an interglacial event but 12,000 years from now all of Canada and 40% of the United States including Manhattan, thankfully, will be under 5,000 feet of ice. It is undoubtedly true that 99% of scientists believe in Climate Change however to state as fact that 97% believe in Anthropogenic Climate Change is both absurd and a statistical improbability. The climate record also shows that global temperature increases precede attending increases in atmospheric CO2 by periods ranging from 400 to 1400 years.

          The fossil record and ocean sediment indicates that six thousand years ago Northern Africa rapidly devolved from a verdant South America Savannah into what is now the Sahara Desert. This event caused catastrophic upheavals to populations bordering the Mediterranean Sea. This begs the question, what anthropogenic vector caused this to happen? I’m quite sure that the heavy industry of the period didn’t play a role in this event. I’m with the Axial Precession hypothesis on this one. Anyone who believes that global climate supercomputer models are useful is, of course, living in a state of sin. Apologies to John von Neumann’s famous quote on mathematical algorithms that generate random numbers.

        • alpha2actual

          Obviously Anthropogenic Global Warming is a major consideration for future generations. Let’s examine the new math of the Renewable Energy Robber Baron crowd who have taken upon themselves to protect us from the “projected” end of civilization as we know it. Welcome to the Cape Wind Project.

          Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound has been approved. The project will cost $2.6 BILLON, and it has secured funding for $2 BILLON of that from a Japanese bank. But this is believed to be subject to the project gaining a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy. The contracted cost of the wind farm’s energy will be 23 cents a kilowatt hour (excluding tax credits, which are unlikely to last the length of the project), which is more than 50% higher than current average electricity prices in Massachusetts. The Bay State is already the 4th most expensive state for electricity in the nation. Even if the tax credits are preserved, $940 million of the $1.6 billion contract represents costs above projections for the likely market price of conventional power. Moreover, these costs are just the initial costs they are scheduled to rise by 3.5 percent annually for 15 years.

          This project is rated at 468 MW and will produce 143 MW after applying a Capacity Factor of 30.4 % the time the wind actually blows. Life cycle is 20 years therefore this project will produce 24.6 Gigawatts life cycle.

          A Combined Cycle Natural Gas Turbine plant studied by the DOE completed in 2010 is rated at 570 MW and produces 470 MW, capacity factor 85%. Cost $311 MILLION. Life cycle 35 years therefore this plant will produce 133 Gigawatts life cycle.

          The math Cost / (Baseplate MW X Capacity Factor X 8760 (annual hours) X Life Cycle (years))

          • danskal

            The 2 billion price tag seems a bit high. I wonder how much of the 2 billion has been spent on dealing with NIMBYists and lobbyists in USAs corrupt political system.

            By the way, you forgot to include in the price of the Gas Turbine the following:

            All subsidised costs associated with prospecting and drilling for natural gas.

            Costs of actually buying the natural gas and shipping it to the plant.

            Cost of pollution caused by drilling, leaks.

            Cost of effects of Anthropogenic Global Warming.

            Also, the capacity factor for Cape Wind is supposedly 38% – 30% seems a bit low – comparable to land-based turbines.

      • jagiela

        They get around this problem by declaring bats “mammals” which they are, rather than birds. So killing bats doesn’t count

        • danskal

          Oh the humanity!!! The next thing you know, they will be declaring that the sky is blue, and the earth is round! They are clearly evil and out to get you.

    • wideEyedPupil

      Are you insane? These oil spills are still spew dozens of toxic compounds and elements all over the ocean (Prince Island Sound for e.g.) decades later. The harm of these events is so much more significant (factors of ten followed by several zeros) it shows you have no idea what you are talking about. Not only are the wildlife which survive and oil split over thousands of sq miles loaded with toxins after the spill, there are still no fish in the Gulf of Mexico for fisherman to kill for human consumption — and if they did the fish will be high in heavy metals.

      In SA we only need wind to scale by a factor of ten or so, it already produces up to half SA generation on good wind resource days.

      • jagiela

        No, it shows you are completely misinformed. The birds that died in the oil spills are generally the lower rung of the bird food chain that replinishes itself rather quickly. They have several offspring a year and most die within a few months anyway.

        Take wrens for example. In the spring, they often have as many as two litters of four birds. That makes ten wrens (the momma, pappa and eight kids) . Of these, only two will be alive the next spring. Killing them off doesn’t change things all that much- they’re going to die anyway.

        Vultures, eagles and hawks just don’t have that many children. Killing them off is much more serious

        The toxic chemicals and all that other garbage you put into your post is just silliness- the massive Deepwater Horizon spill has long since been taken care of by mother nature.

        Really, you just don’t know anything

        • wideEyedPupil

          Long since taken care of by Mother Nature. Priceless. Suggest you go ask a gulf waters fisherman about that. Or do some reading on Public Laboratories lists where citizen science is monitoring the destruction of precious mangrove habitats up and down the coast years later. Just because the US government is complicit with the ff industry in covering up the environmental damage doesn’t mean damage has not occurred and will be for a long time to come. That’s why hundreds of commercial fisherman are being paid cash money not go fishing.

          Your bird knowledge staggers me and I bow to your expertise. Still haven’t backed up that 1300 hundred raptors a year with a credible reference. And seeing as you think wrens are sea birds I won’t be trusting your numbers today.

          It’s pretty clear the Koch brothers are sponcering troll commentary on this thread. I won’t be responding to these lies any more.

          If there was a fraction of substance to your claims do you think the UK bird charity I mentioned would be building a wind turbine at there head quarters? Have a good think about that before your sound with more distractions and opinions.

          • jagiela

            You just don’t know what your talking about

        • danskal

          > Killing them off doesn’t change things all that much- they’re going to die anyway.

          Real nice psychopathic reasoning there – couldn’t we just extend this reasoning to any living thing?

          I get what you are trying to say, but you can’t look at the food chain in such a simplistic, isolated way. I could just as easily say the converse, that if you poison the lower parts of the foodchain, this has the greatest effect on the higher parts of the foodchain, as persistent poisons tend to get concentrated upwards in the foodchain.

          > Deepwater Horizon spill has long since been taken care of by mother nature

          I don’t think any sane person believes this.

    • danskal

      > we use so little of it.

      You may be using little of it, but 30% of my power is coming from wind.

      > replaced within about 90 days

      hahaha you cannot be serious. You can’t convince me that you even close to believe that for a second.

  • alpha2actual

    “There had been only eight recorded sightings of the white-throated needletail in the UK since 1846. So when one popped up again on British shores this week, twitchers were understandably excited.

    A group of 40 enthusiasts dashed to the Hebrides to catch a glimpse of the brown, black and blue bird, which breeds in Asia and winters in Australasia.

    But instead of being treated to a wildlife spectacle they were left with a horror show when it flew into a wind turbine and was killed.” MailOnline.

    • wideEyedPupil

      Daily Mail… must be true. Unless they hacked that story from an ornithologist’s voicemail I would treat that “news” with extreme caution. And one incidence is not data anyhow. Declare your troll status now!

      • alpha2actual

        It is a misconception that the Environmental Movement is benign, well intentioned, and monolithic– it is not. In reality the movement is extremely factionalized and schizophrenic. The legitimate players are the rent seekers, grant chasers, and politicans pandering to a constituency, the Green Lobby.

        The True Believers are the Transnational Progressives, Luddites, Malthusians, Narcissistic Xenophobes, Gaia cultists, Margaret Sanger Eugenics disciples, and Pathological Altruists to name but a few. Review your “Silent Spring” and the attending banning and restrictions on the use of DDT. The carnage visited on the inhabitants of the Sub Sahara, South America, and Asia is unconscionable. Read Erlich’s “Population Bomb” and the Club of Rome literature “carrying capacity” is code for disdain of inhabitants of Third World countries.. Science is intended to drive policy not the other way around. Policy driven Science misallocates capital but more importantly takes lives.

        These modern environmentalists, and I’m including the Global Warming Alarmists, are immoral and inhuman and have racked up a body count that surpasses 100 million and counting, 80% children under five and pregnant women.

      • BlueScreenOfDeath
    • danskal

      Interesting, but nothing to do with science. And interestingly enough it was a small wind turbine, not a utility-size installation. It is well documented that old and smaller machines cause much more problems for birds than large-scale, modern machines.

      Also interesting that the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) intends to build a wind turbine outside their headquarters.

  • Jack Kalpakian

    Keep kitty indoors.