Welcome to the new version of European Tribune. It's just a new layout, so everything should work as before - please report bugs here.

Wind farm kills eagles in 'large numbers'

by Jerome a Paris Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 05:40:01 AM EST


Wind farm 'hits eagle numbers'

Wind farm turbine blades are killing a key population of Europe's largest bird of prey, UK wildlife campaigners warn.  

Ouch, sounds bad.


He added: "It seems these birds are flying around a lot of the time and they're colliding with the wind turbines and being killed in big numbers.

Aie, not good.


The RSPB says nine white-tailed eagles have been killed on the Smola islands off the Norwegian coast in 10 months, including all of last year's chicks.

Nine? That's indeed a big number!


OK, enough being flippant. The article makes it really hard to know how bad the situation is, because of the unhealthy mix of breathless sensationalism and half-hidden nuggets of information.

It appears that the wind farm (a pretty big one, with 68 turbines), has indeed had a significant impact on the local population of eagles, and that's real issue, and a real concern, that needs to be addressed.. What's not clear is how important that local colony is with respect to the overall population of the species, and whether one dead bird per month is a real impact on that species or not.


RSPB conservation director Mark Avery told BBC News more care needed to be taken when choosing a site for wind farms. He said: "The problem is if wind farms are put in stupid places where there are lots of vulnerable birds and lots of vulnerable rare birds."

He said most wind farms would not cause any harm to birds but that the Smola wind farm had been badly sited in a place where it put white-tailed eagles at risk.

(...)

The RSPB says it supports renewable energy, including wind farms, as a way of tackling climate change, which it sees as the biggest threat to wildlife.

But it is urging developers and governments to take the potential impact on wildlife such as eagles properly into consideration when planning new wind farms in future.

Again, the poor choice of words (the "big number" quote) and its sensationalist fearmongering use by the media (count how many times the word "fear" is used in the first paragraphs) is annoying. But the RSPB position otherwise appears eminently sensible to me, and putting a big windfarm next to the nesting area of a colony of rare birds certainly does not sound like a good idea, and could have been avoided by some basic due diligence.

Lots of poor performance all around.

Display:

Strangely, this seems to be happening very often with big government wind farms. Down in Texas, for example, some morons are trying to build a massive wind farm right on a major migration route. The local birders are, of course, quite pissed, especially since there are much more viable sites.

by Egarwaen on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 11:41:34 AM EST
Strange how small the world is sometimes. Smøla is a neighbouring island to where I grew up.

According to this article by the norwegian moderate enviromental group Bellona, there is about 2000 breeding pairs of white tipped eagles in Norway, and about 65-85 around the island of Smøla. (http://193.71.199.52/no/energi/fornybar/vindkraft/42948.html)

The reason why they know that 9 eagles have died, is that there is a big research project, founded by the developer (Statskraft) to document the impact of the wind park on the eagle population. 3 of the 9 dead eagles actually had radio collars from this project.

So, if we input the numbers, we can see that the situation is not rosy (5-10 percent of the eagle population dead in about a year), but that nationally the white tipped eagle is not under threat. Hopefully the local eagles will learn to stay away from the wind farm.

by Trond Ove on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 11:45:19 AM EST
Well, if those fucking birds would quit slamming their faces into our blades, it wouldn't be an issue.  Does this not disprove the idea that they are sentient?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 03:42:21 PM EST
Does anyone have the statistics comparing the number of wildlife deaths due to windmills v. due to oil slicks each year?

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 03:48:19 PM EST


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 05:09:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How is a Cat an anthropogenic cause of bird deaths? Unless we're talking of the act of keeping cats and birds in the same house as pets, of course.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 05:11:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't ask me, I hate pets.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 05:13:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That data would also be best displayed as a pie chart, since it has been rescaled.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 05:15:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you have realised by now that I have not produced any of the graphs I display here and there, and thus cannot do anything about their zero-scaling, or formatting, or other display imperfections - which , if I may add, I am usually aware of, but ignore when the information provided is good enough.

Should I provide all the relevant mathematical critique each time? Those that care about these things will do it on their own anyway.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 05:42:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They hate you too: I asked.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 05:24:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't really care.

(Actually, dogs just love to come to me and go all sloppy and slobbering - please love me. I see that you are not touched by my doggedness (doggyness?), but please love me anyway - with these big mournful eyes. So I get punished for my sins alright)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 05:40:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now we know why you don't smile.

Know who else hates pets?  Serial killers.  You're probably planning to chop us all to bits with your windmills, aren't you?  No wonder you don't want us to drive.  Makes it harder for us to get away when we're on foot.  Here we thought, "Wow, this nice Frenchman wants to lend us a hand with our energy problems..."  When you were just gaining our confidence so you could chop us up and bury us under your creepy city with the rest of those creepy skeletons and take over our country, probably.  And you wonder why there's a French bias in the press.  Sheesh!

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 05:49:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that the press bias is all about me?!

I can live with that...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 05:57:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think this is a symptom of an increasingly activist anti-windmill media front, so much as confirmation that the press are idiots and have no sense of context.

For example, there's this piece of scaremongering.

So - a serious health risk? Not exactly. It turns out that three people have been killed by this effect.

That's not three people in the last week, or month or year. Or even three people in the last decade. It's a grand total of three people since mobile phones became popular.

In other words it's a non-story. It should have been filed in the electronic equivalent of the circular filing cabinet.

Why is it being given media play? Possibly because it's the start of the Summer slow season and there's not much else going on. But really - who knows? It's a mystery. It makes no sense. I'm not even going to pretend to understand the editorial reasoning that runs something like this.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 07:29:35 AM EST


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]

Top Diaries