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.