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Birds and Wind Power

Many things to consider...

What effect does wind power have on birds? Scientists are taking a close look. Surveys of wind-power projects in Oregon and Washington estimate that wind turbines kill more than 6,500 birds annually. Of particular concern are raptors such as owls, hawks, and eagles. Is replacing oil with wind power an acceptable trade-off? One answer is clear: energy conservation lessens our dependence on both.

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Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Birds and Wind Power

Written by Todd Peterson

This is BirdNote.
Because we’re thinking more now about the impact of energy development on the environment, let’s ask: what effect does wind power have on birds?
[Sound of wind blowing]  
Scientists in the Pacific Northwest are taking a close look. Surveys of wind-power projects in Oregon and Washington estimate that wind turbines kill more than 6,500 birds annually.1 Of particular concern are raptors such as owls, hawks, and eagles, whose fierce pursuit of prey may make them oblivious to lethal danger spinning nearby.
[Cry of Red-tailed Hawk]
By way of comparison, however, house cats and collisions at night with skyscrapers and lighted telephone towers kill millions of birds nationally every year.
One hopeful development is that modern wind turbines produce twice the power of older models with fewer turbines spaced farther apart.2 And advocates for birds are participating in the decisions about where these turbines are placed. For example, the Blue Mountain Audubon Society and others negotiated to keep wind turbines out of an area near McNary Wildlife Refuge on the Columbia River.3
[Sound of wind blowing]
 Because human actions can have enormous consequences for nature, we’re faced with inevitable dilemmas, such as the question: Is replacing oil with wind power an acceptable trade-off?  One answer, however, is clear: energy conservation lessens our dependence on both.
There’s more to this story at BirdNote.org. [Cry of Red-tailed Hawk]
                                                                            ###
Call of the Red-tailed Hawk provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, recorded by L.J. Peyton.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2012 Tune In to Nature.org     August 2012     Narrator: Michael Stein

ID#  windfarm-02-2010-08-25

1/ Hal Bernton, “Scientists study wind-farm risks to birds” The Seattle Times, June 6, 2010.
2/ Ibid, Bernton, The Seattle Times            
 3/ Ibid, Bernton, The Seattle Times [the Wallula Gap saddle]

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