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Wind Turbines — Wildlife Killers Extraordinaire

— KELSEY DAYTON Star-Tribune staff writer — November 28, 2011

LANDER — Wind farms and golden eagles seem to have trouble coexisting.

But conservationists, biologists and energy companies agree:  No one really knows what harm wind farms cause to golden eagles and their numbers.

The available data, science and policy haven’t caught up with the pace of wind energy development. Still, wind energy development is apparently killing golden eagles, which seem especially susceptible to collisions with the turbines.

“We really don’t know how many birds are being killed by wind turbines,” said Trish Sweanor, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist.

Turbines kill, displace eagles

Golden eagles are found throughout the country, from deserts to grasslands, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service. They eat mid-sized reptiles, birds and mammals as large as mule deer fawns and coyote pups.

They also are protected by three federal laws: the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Lacey Act. These laws prohibit possession or sale of eagle feathers and parts and have protected bald eagles since 1940 and golden eagles since 1962 by making it a crime to kill the birds.

Wind turbines harm birds in three ways: direct collision, displacement or creating a space that birds avoid, and habitat fragmentation, which means large areas needed by some birds for nesting are dissected. The biggest issue is collision, Sweanor said.

Blades move at 180 mph and create motion smear, or the appearance they’ve disappeared. No one has discovered a way yet to alert birds to the danger of a turbine and steer them elsewhere, Sweanor said.

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3 Comments on “Wind Turbines — Wildlife Killers Extraordinaire”

  1. dou dou February 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    They can’t wrap a screen around it??? We do it with fans… This should not be that difficult a problem to solve.

  2. Donna Quixote February 17, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

    I guess because of the sheer size of these things, it would be almost impossible. I don’t understand why they have to be so monstrous in size. 600 ft?? (or 200m) is just insane.

  3. Thi March 5, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    Hi nice art! i’m Thi and i add “Like” (facebook) to Wind Turbines — Wildlife Killers Extraordinaire Quixotes Last Stand

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