Do Wind Turbines Kill Birds?

Do Wind Turbines Kill Birds?

Yes, they kill birds.  If there were no wind turbines in the world, there would be no bird deaths from wind turbines, this is obvious.  But, wind turbines do not kill as many birds as most other man-made structures or natural occurences.

Take a look at the estimates below of Average Bird Deaths/Year from:

    1. Windows:  100 Million – 1 Billion (Yes, a wide range, but A LOT)
    2. Electric Power Lines: 150 Million (Give or take 50 Million)
    3. House Cats:  100 Million (Even house cats have hunting skills)
    4. Automobiles:  100 Million (Give or take 50 million)
    5. Wind Turbines:  25 Thousand (Give or take 15 thousand)

As you can see, wind turbines kill significantly less birds that other man-made structures and house cats.

So What’s all the Commotion about Wind Turbines and Birds?

Well, it would be nice if wind turbines did not kill any birds, but that’s not the case.

The real issue, however, is when wind turbines kill endangered species.  Like that case of the Tehachapi Mountain Wind Farm just north of Los Angeles.  These California wind farms have been the cause of death of several golden eagles, an endangered bird of prey.

Federal wildlife officials are having a hard time regulating the choice between cleaner energy and the lives of the lost golden eagles.  The easiest next step would be to do significant research of the flying and migration patters of endangered birds and carefully plan around these areas.  Unfortunately, bird migration and flying patters frequently use up the best wind space desired for wind turbine construction, tightening the dilemma even more.

Conclusion

Many things kill birds.  Wind turbines kill less birds than most other things that kill birds.  Now, we have to either make the choice between building wind turbines or killing birds, or we have to develop better technology that prevents birds from being killed by wind turbines.



4 thoughts on “Do Wind Turbines Kill Birds?

  1. This is NOT a problem, in regions with alot of wind turbines, the solution is simple, at the local community college or a larger park – set aside an couple of buildings for an aviary, where biologists can assist in raising a similar number of birds as to whatever number is killed in turbine accidents. For what less than 200k per year (2-3 staff + t&m) , you could effectively eliminate that concern, and even promote the regrowth of other endangered or desirable birds. As there are already ASPCA’s and other county level animal services, I would think it would be an adjunct to that activity.

    This is a problem in the same way it was a “problem” that hybrid cars were “too quiet”.

  2. The above data is based on the limited # of wind turbines in the U.S. This # is increasing, so the number of bird deaths is also going up. However, 2 things that that this data makes crystal clear are that 1) house cats should be kept indoors; and 2) decals that make windows visible to birds should be applied to existing windows and new windows should be made from the more recent types of glass that are visible to birds.

  3. I am confident that we can work out a way to fix this. After all, Science and research never stop.

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