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Birds killed by wind turbine is a rhetoric from climate deniers to oppose renewable energy

Birds killed by wind turbine; Since the inception of commercial wind turbines in the 1980s, concerns about their potential negative

By Ground Report
New Update
Birds killed by wind turbine is a rhetoric from climate deniers to oppose renewable energy

Since the inception of commercial wind turbines in the 1980s, concerns about their potential negative impacts on the environment have persisted. Critics have raised issues about the visual impact of turbines on the landscape, questioned the complex mineral requirements of the technology, and expressed frustration with the noise generated by the rotating blades. As a result, the opposition against wind power has been steadfast and robust.

Some opponents who strongly oppose the installation of new wind turbines in the United States often cite bird mortality as a significant concern associated with wind-generated power. Their ultimate goal is to prevent a large number of bird deaths caused by the blades of these colossal turbines, and they plan to achieve this by leveraging lawsuits and protests against pending legislation.

However, most experts find a problem with the bird-mortality argument: The vast majority of research demonstrates that wind turbines cause relatively few bird deaths, especially when compared with other human-made structures. The statistics are shocking when you consider the number of people opposing wind power on behalf of birds.

Cats vs. Wind Turbines: Scale

The data from United States Fish and Wildlife Service reveals that cats are responsible for a staggering 2.4 billion bird deaths, surpassing the impact of wind turbines. Cats and glass buildings inflict greater damage to bird populations compared to land-based wind turbines, which are only responsible for a fraction of bird fatalities.

It was determined that land wind turbines accounted for nearly 200,000 bird deaths, whereas collisions with building glass resulted in nearly 600 million bird fatalities, citing a seminal publication by Dr. Scott Loss and others


Dr. Loss's findings from his research on outdoor cats in the United States unveiled an astonishing population of 30 to 80 million unowned cats. In stark contrast, during the publication of his wind turbine study in 2012, there were only 44,577 wind turbines scattered across the landscape. This staggering difference in magnitude becomes abundantly clear as unowned cats outnumbered wind turbines by an astounding ratio of roughly 700 to 1,800 during that time.

Now, let's consider the reverse scenario: if there were 30 to 80 million wind turbines. While this situation is highly unlikely, it sheds light on the potential impact on bird mortality that such a large number of turbines could have. Although we won't see such a massive deployment of wind turbines, it is crucial not to disregard the genuine impacts that wind turbines may have on bird populations, especially as the wind energy industry continues to expand rapidly.

Wind Power's impact on Birds

As the wind power industry continues to grow and expand, its relationship with the environment is facing increased scrutiny. Although the effects of wind turbines on different bird populations, particularly apex birds, remain unstudied, there is evidence to suggest that turbines may have negative impacts on certain species.

States with significant numbers of endangered species, such as Hawaii, have taken proactive steps to protect vulnerable bird and bat populations. They mandate permits and conservation plans for all potential wind projects on public and private land in order to safeguard these species. Additionally, the state closely monitors animal mortality data and imposes heavy fines on wind farms that are responsible for killing federally protected birds.

The issue of bird mortality caused by wind turbines has drawn much attention and criticism. However, according to Joel Merriman, wind energy specialist at the American Bird Conservancy, wind turbines kill an estimated 1.17 million birds each year in the US.

While this number may seem substantial, it represents only 0.016% of the total. approximately 7.2 billion birds residing in the US By comparison, other human-related factors such as communication towers, cars, pesticides, and cats pose far greater threats to bird populations.

Recognizing that wind turbines may disproportionately affect certain bird species, especially larger birds of prey, is essential. The UK's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds highlighted the threat posed to the kittiwake, a specific species of gull, by new offshore wind developments in the North Sea.

Balancing Bird mortality and climate action

Despite the numbers, it's crucial to keep the big-picture perspective. While wind turbines can contribute to bird mortality, the rapid development of wind power is a critical response to address the devastating impact of climate change and unsustainable lifestyles, which have resulted in declining bird populations. species by an average of 68% since 1970, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature.

As wind power technology evolves and we make progress in minimizing its impact on bird populations, we must continue the ongoing transition to a net zero emissions future to safeguard biodiversity and tackle the global climate crisis.

Wind vs. Fossil Fuels impact on Birds

A 2009 study looking at the US and Europe found that wind farms were responsible for about 0.3 bird deaths per 1 GWh of electricity generated, while fossil fuel power plants caused 5.2 deaths per 1 GWh. This would mean about 7,000 bird deaths a year in the US due to wind turbines, 300,000 caused by nuclear plants, and a staggering 14.5 million from fossil fuel power plants.

This study may have changed the numbers with the growth of wind power and better risk mitigation strategies, although it is dated. A similar 2012 study also found that fossil fuel plants caused bird deaths through mining, on-site collisions, electrocutions, and poisoning.

Despite the numbers, experts believe that locating wind farms away from major migration routes and bird habitats can mitigate potential damage.

The UK's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) states that with careful site selection, wind farms can have minimal impact on bird populations. They emphasize that the biggest long-term threat to birds and wildlife is climate change, and renewable energy plays a vital role in addressing this challenge.

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