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Sure You Care About The Eagles But Who Mourns The Bats?

Presidential Hopefuls discuss wind turbines killing Golden Eagles but not one flower for the bats!

Dead bats are found beneath wind turbines all over the world. It's estimated that tens to hundreds of thousands die at wind turbines each year in North America alone. Recently, wind turbines have received a lot of attention as a cause of death for birds. While it is true that some birds die every year by flying into turbine towers or blades, the actual numbers are negligible. Statistics show that in the United States, wind energy facilities cause less than one in 4,000 documented bird deaths from industrial activities, but is it the windmills fault or the fact that they were placed in the wrong areas!

The great birds like golden eagles have been killed “unintentionally” by lethal wind turbines installed in their breeding territories, and in “dispersion areas” where their young congregate (e.g. Altamont Pass). By chance (if you believe in coincidences), a timely government study claims wind farms will kill “only” 1.4 million birds yearly by 2030. This new report is just one of many, financed with taxpayers’ money, aimed at convincing the public that additional mortality caused by wind plants is sustainable. – It is not.

Dr. Shawn Smallwood’s 2004 study, spanning four years, estimated that California’s Altamont Pass wind “farm” killed an average of 116 Golden Eagles annually. This adds up to 2,900 dead “goldies” since it was built 25 years ago. But no one is discussing the Bat population these turbines also kill at twice the amount because they fly primarily at night. Altamont is the biggest sinkhole for the species, but not the only one, and industry-financed research never thought about researching where birds and bats go to mix and mingle. So the answer seems obvious: investigate areas where we intend to build wind farms to minimize bird and bat deaths.

Different colors, patterns,holes that make whistling or humming sounds or less-conspicuous approaches like using UV-reflective paint could also be promising ways to reduce bird and bat mortality. Above all, siting turbines away from high bird-use areas remains the best way to reduce bird mortality.” There are also more active methods of preventing fatalities like painting one turbine black,painting one blade of a wind turbine rotor black results in 70 percent fewer collision bird victims. The theory goes that the black paint made the blades more visible, especially at the tips, essentially creating dark streaks in the sky. So a little ingenuity goes a long way when it comes to windmills.


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