Canada Ranks Top Bird Killers. Guess Where Wind Turbines Come in?….

October 24, 2013


I covered this in a video (below) a few years ago, and many posts since then.  Further proof – wind turbines did not make the top then then, and they don’t now.

What’s number one? Full disclosure, I’m the sudden caretaker of my wife’s new kitty cat…


An Environment Canada study released Tuesday shows that more than 270 million birds are killed in Canada every year from human-related activity, which includes deaths caused by cats owned, or not controlled well, by humans.

Richard Elliot, director of wildlife research for Environment Canada, said in an interview the estimated figure of 270 million is out of a total of 10 billion birds. “We’ve got a lot of birds, and that’s probably a good thing because we’re killing a lot.

Most birds in Canada are protected by the 100-year old Migratory Bird Conventions Act, as well as the Species at Risk Act and various provincial wildlife acts that prohibit destroying nests or killing birds, but little is being done to shield them from the following top killers.

1. Domestic and feral cats: 200 million

There are about 8.5 million domestic cats in Canada, and 1.4 to 4.2 million wild or stray cats. Although feral cats are smaller in number than house cats, they’re responsible for twice as many bird kills. Even so, cats by nature can be serial killers and don’t just kill when they’re hungry.

Elliot said kitty-cams attached to cats’ collars reveal that even house cats are avid hunters. “A cat you think is just out wandering around the premises would be killing 10 or 12 birds a night.”

Ian Davidson of Nature Canada said in an interview with CBC, “Our pets don’t really understand the difference between an endangered bird species or not, so we strongly recommend people keep their cats indoors, especially around dawn or dusk.”

2. Power lines, collisions and electrocutions: 25 million

Wind turbines accounted for only 16,700 kills. But wind power is expected to grow tenfold over the next decade.

3. Collision with houses or buildings: 25 million

Between two and five per cent of nuthatches, chickadees and pigeons may be killed after striking houses or buildings, the report estimates. Davidson suggests turning off lights in large municipal buildings, since birds are attracted to bright light, as well as muting reflections on the windows so they don’t appear transparent to birds

4. Vehicle collisions: 14 million

“Striking things,” Elliot said, is a huge killer of birds.

5. Game bird hunting: 5 million

The report says extensive programs are in place throughout North America that ensure that any population-level effects of hunting are sustainable in the long term.

6. Agricultural pesticides 2.7 million

Electrical power and agriculture represent the largest industrial sources of bird mortality.

7. Agricultural mowing: 2.2 million young birds, equivalent to one million adult birds

One example cited are bobolinks, a protected bird, which nest in grasses and are killed every year by the cutting or clearing of grasses.

8. Commercial forestry: 1.4 million nests, equivalent to 900,000 adult birds

Activities that alter habitat during the breeding season, such as forestry and agricultural mowing, tend to destroy nests, eggs and young birds.

9. Communications towers: 220,000

Birds killed by flying into communications towers include kinglets and warblers.


14 Responses to “Canada Ranks Top Bird Killers. Guess Where Wind Turbines Come in?….”

  1. So, with even a ten-fold increase in wind-power generation, the number of birds killed by wind turbines would be a relatively small number compared to the total killed. As for the noise argument, my wife and I had the opportunity to stand very near an operating wind turbine in Gratiot County about a month ago and we could barely hear it. Maybe the wind-power deniers/haters will next start complaining about the colors the turbines are painted next: an aesthetic violation?

  2. Nick Carter Says:

    While covering a story on wind power at NREL I too, got to hear a windmill at a distance of about 1500 feet. To be honest, I found the sound to be quite soothing. It was a gentle, undulating white noise that many insomniacs pay for, through the use of small, electronic bedside synthesizers.

  3. akismet-14545c51e078f339ba4cba0cc83a4032 Says:

    I suspect that is likely to change as more turbines are constructed. Still a weak issue even if that happens compared to coal, oil and fracking.

    Check out the Valley Watch website at:

    John Blair “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Mahatma Gandhi

    800 Adams Avenue Evansville, IN 47713 812-464-5663

    In accordance with title 17 U. S. Code, Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior general interest in receiving similar information for research and educational purposes.

  4. daryan12 Says:

    I tought I taw a putty Cat…..;)

  5. j4zonian Says:

    Two suggested corrections:

    7. 2.2 million young birds is not the equivalent of 1 million adult birds. Young birds feed predators, who in the absence of those 2.2 million young birds will kill others or be reduced in numbers, throwing further ripples of disruption through the ecosystems involved, which I guess is all of them.

    Probably the biggest factor of all is habitat destruction and modification, (other than just forestry) leading not just to bird deaths but species extinctions and more of those disruptions. It’s harder to quantify so often doesn’t appear on these lists but should at least be mentioned.

  6. Sherri Lange Says:

    This jumble of green thinking does nothing to clear the air, excuse the pun, re the actual deaths of raptors, breeding pairs, cover ups of deaths, and the carnage that is notoriously under reported world wide. It is estimated now by renowned wind turbine mortality expert, Jim Wiegand, that up to 95% of deaths are not reported. I also contacted federal MNR to ask for Canada wide numbers of bird and bat deaths, and was told about 950 average. That is an astonishingly weak number, given that the US numbers are now recognized as between 37 and 41 MILLION per year. There are, make no mistake about it, species that are becoming extinct because of wind turbines. The second missing link is in the number killed by transmission lines. Guess you didn’t know that your toaster oven has a connection to the socket? Every wind factory has massive energy sprawl, and there are now thousands of new transmission lines, not all buried you know, because that is more expensive. We have not yet seen the numbers for new transmission wires combined with the killing fields of the wind factories. Please read more. Yes, habitat destruction. Factor that in, too.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      You’re offering a conspiracy theory, not facts, or studies from reliable sources.
      When I google Wiegand, he comes up with all manner of right wing, science denial and wackdoodle connections.
      Try to do better.
      Also, please recommend other sources of energy that do not use transmission lines. (well,
      there’s rooftop solar, and we cover that here as well…)

    • uknowispeaksense Says:

      Let’s pretend for a moment that you actually care about bats and birds, can you offer an alternative to wind turbines?

      Oh, and why aren’t you out there protesting about cats and buildings?

      Finally, Wiegand is batshit crazy with all his conspiracy ideation. You would do better to find more reasonable sources of information.

  7. […] door and died. Yes, 3rd on the list of things that cause birds to die, is collisions with buildings.Peter Sinclair provides us with The List of Top Bird Killers […]

  8. […] Peter Sinclair provides us with The List of Top Bird Killers (via CBC): […]

  9. […] Peter Sinclair provides us with The List of Top Bird Killers (via CBC): […]

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