November
17
2014

Bird Collision with Wind Turbine

Here is an real video of a bird collision with a wind turbine.  The video is not edited and is graphic, so please be advised.

 

 

July
22
2015

Turbine Decision Creating Turmoil

PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY - Disappointment in last week’s decision to approve 27 wind turbines in southern Prince Edward County ranges far beyond the borders of the municipality,

A trio of conservation groups, including Nature Canada, Ontario Nature, and American Bird Conservancy have joined Mayor Robert Quaiff in lambasting the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) decision to approve the White Pines Prince Edward County Wind Energy Project in an internationally designated Important Bird Area (IBA).

“There are so many things wrong about this decision and the only reasonable conclusion is that it is bad for nature” stated Ted Cheskey, senior conservation manager at Nature Canada, in a joint release. “More populations of species at risk will be threatened and more critical habitat will be destroyed. Nature Canada is not opposed to the project as a whole, but several specific turbines should not have been approved. We are also at a loss to understand why the Ministry would approve this project without waiting for the decision of the Environmental Review Tribunal in the Ostrander case.”

Michael Hutchins, director of the American Bird Conservancy’s Bird-Smart Wind Energy Campaign, said the development will hurt birds in both Canada and the United States.

Read More…

July
19
2015

Wind Turbines At Center of Bat Protection Rules

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering requests from the wind energy industry to exempt wind turbines in Wisconsin and nationwide from new rules to protect threatened bats, even as a fungal disease has killed millions of the creatures.

Because of the disease, white-nose syndrome, the federal agency listed the northern long-eared bat as threatened. The temporary rule to list the bat as threatened exempted some activities, but not wind energy generation. The agency is now considering a final rule, including potential exemptions for wind turbines.

The Fish and Wildlife Service said wind turbines cause a significant number of bat deaths. A 2013 study, cited in the Federal Register, found wind turbines nationwide killed 650,000 to 1.3 million bats in a year.

Read More…

July
14
2015

From Doom To Boom: Illinois Peregrine Falcons No Longer Threatened

Talons clenched, eyes locked on prey, a peregrine falcon looks almost peaceful as it leans forward, relaxes and drops into a 200-mph dive for dinner. It is the fastest known animal on earth. And it has no predator.

Yet there was a time when the raptors’ screeches went silent along the riverside cliffs of Illinois. Their population here: zero.

By the 1960s, humans had taken a toll. Pesticides like DDT thinned their eggshells, so parents crushed their chicks before they even hatched. Season after season, fewer and fewer.

But after the population nosedive, a climb.

The peregrine falcon’s status in Illinois has improved over the years from endangered to threatened, and now the bird has been removed altogether from the state list of species needing aid, said officials, who plan to make the announcement Tuesday. Peregrine falcons are still federally protected but no longer on the edge of extinction.

This time, humans had helped them. It took about 30 years, but conservation and the bird’s own adaptability put it back on the map, albeit a different spot: the city of Chicago.

Now, there are more falcons in Illinois than ever.

Read More…

June
10
2015

Larger Turbines Pose Peril for Birds

When the U.S. Department of Energy released a report last month championing the construction of larger, more-powerful wind turbines, the wind industry unsurprisingly greeted the news with enthusiasm. With an extension of the “hub height” of turbines to 360 feet, the chief executive of the American Wind Energy Association said, wind energy could expand to all 50 states.

Less ardent was the association’s response to scientists’ well-documented concerns about the half-million birds that die each year from collisions with existing turbines. Some migrating birds, a spokesman said, fly too high to be harmed by rotor blades.

Indeed, some birds do fly very high. But far more travel at the very altitudes that would put them at the greatest risk of colliding with the taller turbines.

The risk is especially high during spring and fall, when migrating birds take to the skies in billions, many traveling vast distances between their wintering and breeding grounds.

A May report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service relied on radar data of fall migration at two locations in Michigan. The greatest density of birds and bats migrating at night occurred from 300 to 500 feet above ground, almost directly at hub height for the new generation of giant turbines.

Read more…

June
4
2015

Wind and Solar Facilities Killing Millions of Birds

The Institute of Energy Research reports on a study in the Wildlife Society Bulletin, showing every year 573,000 birds (including 83,000 raptors) and 888,000 bats are killed by wind turbines – 30 percent higher than the federal government estimated in 2009, due mainly to increasing wind power capacity across the nation.

This is figure is likely an underestimate because it is based on the data from 2012, while the number of wind and solar facilities has grown since then.

Fossil Fuels, Renewables, Disparate Treatment

  • In 2010, Mother Jones estimated about 800,000 birds died because of the British Petroleum (BP) oil spill. As a result, they paid $100 million in fines for killing and harming migratory birds.
  • In 2009, Exxon Mobil paid $600,000 for killing 85 birds in five states.
  • PacifiCorp, which operates coal plants, paid more than $10.5 million for electrocuting 232 eagles that landed on power lines at its substations.

Read more…

June
2
2015

To Save Birds, Change the Rules on Wind Turbines

When the Department of Energy released a report last month championing the construction of larger, more-powerful wind turbines, the wind industry unsurprisingly greeted the news with enthusiasm.

Less ardent was the association’s response to well-documented concerns by scientists over the half-million birds that die each year from collisions with existing turbines: Some migrating birds, a spokesman said, fly  too high to be harmed by rotor blades.

Birds and bats “don’t have fixed lanes up there in the sky,” says Jeff Gosse, regional energy coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Bloomington, Minn., and the report’s principal investigator. For instance, during poor weather, birds tend to fly lower. “As conditions change, they will change their altitude, also. As the report indicates, many birds and bats are flying within the current rotor swept zone.”

Before we rush to build thousands of turbines taller than many skyscrapers, with blade tips that often spin in excess of 100 miles per hour, we should pause to examine what we already know about turbines’ affect on wildlife.  Concerns about birds — and bats, which turbines also kill in large numbers — have not gone unnoticed.  (The Department of Energy report euphemistically acknowledges the need to address “additional interactions with wildlife.”)

Read more…

May
30
2015

Bats at Greatest Risk from Turbines in Illinois

Bats are much more likely than birds to be killed or injured by wind turbines in Illinois, according to state data.

“About 22,000 bats a year are killed by wind turbines,” said Keith Shank, who tracks wind turbine collisions and endangered species for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Shank said bats killed by wind turbines typically are not the same species affected by white-nose syndrome, a fungus that has killed millions of bats nationwide since first reported in New York in 2006.

In contrast, three bird deaths and one injury followed by recovery have been reported as a result of wind turbine collisions in Illinois since 2007.

Shank said about half of the state’s wind farm operators file voluntary reports on wildlife collisions with turbines. But he said that combined with operator reports and state analysis, bird deaths are thought to average about one per turbine per year.

There are approximately 2,400 turbines operating in Illinois.

Read more…

May
26
2015

Inside The Feds’ MBTA Incidental Take Proposal

On May 26, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) initiated an environmental review of a proposed permitting program for authorizing the incidental “take” of migratory birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).

The announcement begins what will undoubtedly be a protracted and contentious rulemaking process. Litigation is likely, as well.

FWS proposes, and seeks comment on, a three-pronged permitting framework.

The first prong would be a general, conditional authorization available to industry sectors that FWS has historically engaged with to develop impact reduction measures. Sectors contemplated by FWS include oil, gas and wastewater disposal pits; gas flares; communication towers and transmission lines.

The second prong would require individual incidental take permits and site-specific National Environmental Policy Act reviews for activities not subject to the general, conditional authorization framework.

The third prong would authorize incidental take by federal agencies that enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with FWS. FWS would consider the use of such MOUs to extend take authorization to private parties regulated by the other federal agency.

Read more…