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.
Queen’s University Belfast said pressure from the turbine blades causes a similar condition as that experienced by divers when the surface too quickly.
Conservationists have warned that the bodies of bats are frequently seen around the bases of turbines, but it was previously assumed they had flown into the blades.
However, Dr Richard Holland claims that bats suffer from ‘barotrauma’ when the approach the structures which can pop their lungs from inside their bodies.
Dr Holland said energy companies should consider turning off turbines when bats are migrating.
Turbines used for wind power have long drawn opposition from those who study wildlife. Many birds and other types of animals have been killed by the large blades of the wind harnessing energy farming equipment. However new studies now show that wind farms off the coast can be beneficial to wildlife. While the blades can still be harmful to birds and the noise of the machines may still drive away certain mammals the structures have also been shown to act as artificial reefs. Barnacles and crustaceans as well as the types of fish that are typically found with them end up using the submerged sections of the structures which then attracts larger animals like seals.
The synthetic reef attracts fish that seals like to eat and thus the wind farms become a popular hunting ground for the aquatic mammals. Some seals with GPS tags have been seen returning to the structures and hunting with a grid like pattern, indicating that the predators know they will tend to find an abundance of prey in the half man-made reef. The seals come to the area and then search each section of the wind farm looking for the one with the most abundant prey.
While this is good news for the mammalian hunters it could be very bad news for their food. The almost guaranteed hunting success of the seals may mean that the fish and crustaceans lower on the food chain are being attracted to a trap that could upset the balance of the natural order, tilting it temporarily in the seal’s favor. Any such gains for the seals are likely to prove temporary, because the seals’ success will lead to their food sources dwindling, meaning their new semi-artificial hunting ground was not for the best after all.
Wind industry insiders call it a “turbine collision,” though the feds prefer “non-purposeful take.”
But critics such as Sharon Klemm get real on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife website: “Why don’t you call it what it is? Shooting eagles. Killing Eagles. Murdering Eagles.”
The backlash over a controversial 2013 USFWS rule exempting wind farms from prosecution for the unintentional deaths of bald and golden eagles — for up to three decades — continues to play out in emotional online comments.
“Eagles along with other birds are being chopped out of the air and suffer horrible injuries and death by the blades of high-speed wind turbines,” wrote Patricia Lewko. “This practice has been given a green light by this administration in the name the name of Clean or Green Energy … What is so clean about chopping up birds to either lie in agony or be mutilated?”
Bald eagles were removed from the endangered species list in 2007, yet killing bald and golden eagles remains a felony punishable by a $250,000 fine and prison time.
A PLANNED wind turbine at Llandysul will be switched off during the hours of darkness to minimise its risk to bats, members of Ceredigion County Council’s Development Control Committee have agreed.
In allowing the full planning application for a 60w, 32.6-metre turbine at Llain farm, Maesllyn, councillors elected to go against 89 letters of objection and a 28-name petition.Outlining their reasons for giving it the green light, members said local opposition had to to be counter-balanced by the needs of local farms to diversify and increasingly harness forms of green energy.In their report, officers said the structure would only operate during daylight hours to offset any potential risks to “foraging or commuting” bats – a requirement which had satisfied Natural Resources Wales.
This was greeted with skepticism by Cllr Dafydd Edwards who said: “I suggest we do away with that condition because I do not have much faith in Natural Resources Wales.”
Councillors were told the nearest property would be approximately 360 metres away from the turbine, which was expected to produce 140mw of electricity – enough to power the equivalent of around 31 homes.
Objectors claimed the turbine would create noise, interfere with TV and mobile phone reception, and impact on local tourism and wildlife. Resident Elaine Thomas said a number of points in the council’s report were misleading, claiming Maesllyn consisted of at least 103 houses — as opposed to “over 60 dwellings” suggested by officers.
“People objecting to this turbine feel it will have a negative impact on their lives in some way,” she added.“In June this year a businessman who depends on tourism took Powys County Council to court over two turbines and won his case.
“How can you grant permission for this when you have no evidence more electricity will be produced for this farm?”
Bats have been faced with many threats to their survival including other diseases and the presence of wind turbines, but the effect of a fungal infection called White Nose Syndrome (Pseudogymnoascus destructans), which was first detected by researchers in 2006, has been nearly destroying whole populations of bats. If bat populations are devastated, there will be direct “consequences for agricultural and human health,” related an article some months ago from the New York Times.
White Nose Syndrome affects cave-dwelling bats during hibernation and is difficult to slow, let alone stop. One researcher related that “up to hundreds of thousands of bats [can be hibernating] in a cave, and if this fungus gets a hold of this, it spreads very quickly, you can have virtually no bats left.”
The fungus surrounds bats’ noses, wings and bodies with a white substance, interrupts their hibernation patterns (tagged bats have been tracked, leaving their caves in the middle of winter in some cases) which causes them to burn up their fat stores (meant for the long sleep) and starve to death, as they are unable to find food.
The American Bird Conservancy has filed a lawsuit against the federal government, charging the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service with “multiple violations of federal law” in granting wind turbine permits. At issue is the FWS’s controversial proposed rule that would allow wind power facilities to kill protected golden and bald eagles for periods of up to 30 years. Currently, eagle kill permits are valid for only five years.
The 1940 Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act imposes fines and jail time on people who kill eagles, either intentionally or accidentally. As part of its policy to push renewable energy, however, the Obama FWS in 2009 inserted an exemption into the law, allowing permits for wind turbines to eagle kills “accidentally” even when such kills are foreseeable when building wind farms.
Mankind’s inventions have meant trouble for wildlife in many ways, from air fouled by factories to the ground polluted by pesticides. Wind and solar energy production also impact nature and we need to know more about these evolving technologies.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is encouraging windmill companies to apply for permits that require them to monitor bird deaths and allow a certain number of eagles to be killed each year. Only one company has received a permit. The Shiloh IV Wind Project in Solano County will be allowed five eagle deaths in the next five years.
A letter to the editor points out the irony that the federal government has supported wind energy with tax credits and now threatens legal action over the deaths of federally protected birds.
“There is no simple answer and never will be,” writes Allan MacLaren of Palm Desert. “If we are to have wind power, we will also have bird deaths.”
He’s right, this is a tough one. The Desert Sun supports wind power and we understand there will be impacts to the environment. We also support the effort to gather reliable information so we can make informed decisions.