Wind and Birds: Minimizing (already) Minimal Impacts

October 14, 2021

In studying some of the data on eagles, and their sources of mortality, what’s stunning is how unstunning the number of wind turbine related deaths there have been.

As wind energy has boomed, so has the population of bald eagles.

Los Angeles Times:

The number of bald eagles — a species that once came dangerously close to extinction in the United States — has more than quadrupled over the last dozen years despite massive declines in overall bird populations, government scientists announced Tuesday.

A new survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that since 2009, when the last count was taken, the number of eagles had soared to an estimated 316,700 in the lower 48 states. At the species’ lowest point in the 1960s, there were fewer than 500 nesting pairs in those states.

Though bald eagles have been steadily recovering, the latest figures surprised even scientists who study avian populations.

Some of the increase may be due to the Fish and Wildlife Service’s new method of counting the birds. The agency has long used aerial surveys to monitor the species, but its latest update includes crowdsourced data from the online ornithological database eBird.

About 180,000 bird watchers around the nation reported their bald eagle sightings to the database, according to Amanda Rodewald, senior director for avian population studies at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which maintains eBird. Those sightings provided government scientists with an entirely new view of the species, particularly in parts of the country that aren’t easily surveyed from above.

Though there’s no way to know for sure how much of the growth is because of the crowdsourced data, said Brian Millsap, national raptor coordinator for the Fish and Wildlife Service, the latest estimates line up with other survey data.

“While the eBird data has improved the estimates, the vast majority of this increase really is attributed to bald eagle population growth,” Millsap said.

The dark side of anti-clean energy activists is that, as this news report from Iowa shows, when those damn wind turbines just aren’t killing enough birds, the wing nuts take matters into their own hands.

3 Responses to “Wind and Birds: Minimizing (already) Minimal Impacts”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    This makes about as much sense as taking all the boats out of the water to combat sea level rise.

    False Premise? Did you have anything to do with this? Since the rabbits were not all black, I suspect not.

  2. This blog seems dedicated to denying reality and promoting “clean” energy sprawl. You’re really no different than Big Oil, you’ve just got newer products to hawk (and they kill hawks, which house cats don’t).

    Common sense says armies of giant machines that sweep hundreds of thousands of acres of sky (eventually millions) are going to harm flying wildlife. There’s no getting around that unless your M.O. is lying. (still dying for the same basic reasons)

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      Do you worry about the raptors killed by fossil fuel extraction, processing, and combustion? Do you worry about raptors that get poisoned by eating poisoned rodents? Is there something magical about raptors that make them so much more important than the thousands of waterfowl (pelicans, ducks, cranes, etc.) that are fouled by major oil spills?

      I suspect not. Every argument you’ve put forth reflects an obsession with wind turbines without even acknowledging the historic and ongoing damage with the energy sources they’re replacing. You cling to the raptor issue only as an excuse to demonize wind turbines out of all proportion.

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