Wind turbines and birds

Yesterday I wrote about the nocebo effect in wind turbine syndrome and a comment was made in that post about how windfarms kill birds. It is true that wind farms kill birds when they collide with the spinning blades but it is also true that the total number of deaths associated with wind farms is considerably smaller than other causes such as collisions with buildings, cars, communication towers and encounters with cats both feral and domestic.

A report published in the journal of Nature last year put the data into perspective and this is how it looks:

Wind2-1
Source: http://www.nature.com/news/the-trouble-with-turbines-an-ill-wind-1.10849

I think it is good to be concerned about our wildlife and to do all we can to protect the natural world and the wind farm industry is learning from this and making simple changes to improve the statistics. Some of the solutions involve the use of radars to detect incoming flocks of birds or making sure the turbines are not cited on known migration routes.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Bids (RSPB) in the UK is supportive of the wind turbine industry because they believe the biggest threat to birds is climate change. Here’s what they have to say:

Climate change poses the single greatest long-term threat to birds and other wildlife, and the RSPB recognises the essential role of renewable energy in addressing this problem.

So it seems to me that if we want to protect birds then the best way to do this would be to champion renewable energy and support the movement away from the burning of fossil fuels. At the very least, perhaps the criticism of wind farms should be redirected to criticism of automobiles, since they are responsible for 600 times more deaths than wind turbines.