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Wind Turbines Kill a Few Birds

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the cuisinart dept.

Science 991

Guppy06 writes "The Houston Chronicle has an article about how a 7000-turbine windfarm in Altamont Pass, California (the world's largest collection) has killed an estimated 22,000 birds during the past 20 years or so of operation, 'including hundreds of golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, kestrels and other raptors(.)' There are efforts to keep the operators from renewing their permit until they take measures to protect bird populations. To put things in perspective the article goes on to point out that the Exxon Valdez spill is estimated to have killed around 250,000, while the whole story can just about be summed up by one quote by a biologist: 'When you turn on your lights you kill something, no matter what the source of electricity.'" Killing 3-4 birds per day doesn't seem too bad. It's a shame that larger, rarer birds are getting killed, but... How many birds would die from the acid rain that a coal power plant would cause?

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Solution ? (5, Interesting)

zeux (129034) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839087)

Why not put big metal grid around each turbine ?

My fan here has one so I can't put my fingers in. Maybe we could use grid with larger holes so the flow of wind wouldn't be disturbed too much and so it would prevent bigger birds of going through.

I think it would cause some extra noise (wind going through the grid), cost some extra money and maybe lower the wind speed a little (and by the way lower efficiency) but that would definitely save the birds.

But maybe 22000 birds over 20 years (that's a little more than 3 birds a day) are not worth the expense...

Any solution with magnetic fields? I know that some birds use magnetic fields during their flight to find their destination... It could also help keeping birds out of the highway (60 millions/year in car collision ??? That's a LOT).

Re:Solution ? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7839131)

Just put up a giant scarecrow in the middle of the turbine farm.

Re:Solution ? (2, Insightful)

Jhon (241832) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839181)

Why not put big metal grid around each turbine

increase cost

decrease efficiency

increase need for maintainance (more cost)

What animal (man included) doesn't effect his environment when acting within it's nature? That's a valid question. A few birds be damned -- lets look at the bigger picture.

The answer is NOT to drop all our gizmo's and live in stone and thatch huts. At least if we don't want to see 3+ billion people die off of starvation and exposure.

Re:Solution ? (0)

Threni (635302) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839225)

> decrease efficiency

Huh?

> increase cost

So fine companies who needlessly damage the environment so it becomes more expensive to not take appropriate action.

Re:Solution ? (4, Insightful)

Jhon (241832) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839325)

Huh?
A big old grate will create additional wind drag which would in turn decrease the wind energy transfered to the turbines.
So fine companies who needlessly damage the environment so it becomes more expensive to not take appropriate action
Sounds like a good argument, huh? Unless the cost to generate power increases beyond the ability to make it a viable solution. This brings us to the key word in your statement "needlessly". Perhaps it is NECESSARY to "damage" the environment sometimes. You think that when the house/apartment you live in was build, they didn't dig up some animal/plants home and destroy it?

Re:Solution ? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839182)

> Why not put big metal grid around each turbine ?

Oh, it's easy to say that with hindsight, isn't it!

Re:Solution ? (5, Funny)

Washizu (220337) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839192)

"Why not put big metal grid around each turbine?"

Ever see a flock of birds stuck to a giant fan?

Re:Solution ? (2, Insightful)

RobPiano (471698) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839198)

Would that work? I would think that too much other stuff would get clogged in the fan. Cleaning the fans out might raise the price to the point where it wouldn't be worth it. Then it would be like the cost of nuclear energy (cost > energy produced).

I don't know the details... Is anyone an expert?

Re:Solution ? Duh.. (5, Funny)

cheeseSource (605209) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839316)

Just encase the fans in glass.

Re:Solution ? (5, Insightful)

fastidious edward (728351) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839250)

But maybe 22000 birds over 20 years (that's a little more than 3 birds a day) are not worth the expense...

Exactly, and there are 7000 turbines, so that makes little over 3 birds killed per turbine in 20 years, or 0.157... birds/year/turbine! Compare this to other mechanical devices killing animals, like cars running over hedgehogs, boats knocking fish on the head, animals killed after Chernobyl, or insects on your wind-shield and I'm impressed, 22000 is pretty low.

Re:Solution ? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7839285)

If this is the windfarm I've heard about, there is already a solution. Use a single pole and not a lattice structure (example) [tcomeng.com] to hold up the turbine. Birds will land on the lattice structure, especially birds of prey who want a nice high perch to search for food. When they see a tasty morsel running around, their eyes are focused on the prey and they forget the spinning blades when they take off after it.

Re:Solution ? (4, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839306)

Any solution with magnetic fields?

Oh sure, condemn them to a slow and painful death by cancer instead of quickly and cleanly in the aero-electric abattoir.

KFG

Sure, but that'll cause more problems (2, Funny)

th3axe (690230) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839310)

> My fan here has one so I can't put my fingers in.

If you put screens around the turbines, that'll just be an attractive nusiance, and you'll get sued by people who try sticking their hands or heads into the fans. We're better off with turbines that are only dangerous to birds.

Re:Solution ? (1)

pacman on prozac (448607) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839321)

The birds would nest on it, then you'd need to hire someone to clean shit off the fans.

It'd be worth it just to see what they put as the job title on the ads for staff :-)

Their would be considerable enviromental impact of using that much material, theres many thousands if not millions of fans around by now that would need covers.

FRIST PIST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7839090)

muahahaha

Re:FRIST PIST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7839222)

You have FAILED IT!!! You who are such a FAILURE at the FROSTY PIST have been defeated by an on topic post!! YOU HAVE FAILED IT!!!

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7839100)

FP

Re:FP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7839254)

You have FAILED IT!!! You who are such a FAILURE at the FROSTY PIST have been defeated by an on topic post!!

YOU HAVE FAILED IT!!!

Solar? (2, Insightful)

ekephart (256467) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839111)

"When you turn on your lights you kill something, no matter what the source of electricity."

What about solar energy?

Re:Solar? (4, Insightful)

zeux (129034) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839133)

It takes toxic products to create a solar energy collector -> it kills too.

Re:Solar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7839179)

Plus, the solar panel collects energy that would have went into photosynthesis for plants. This reduces the food supply available to birds, and causes birds to die of starvation.

Re:Solar? (2, Interesting)

Frymaster (171343) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839236)

and just turning on the lights can kill birds regardless of the power source...

the mccormick place exposition centre in chicago had ornamental lighting that casued navigational confusion for birds (ie. it looked like the moon) resulting in a total of 1,500 bird deaths between 1982 and 1996.

i am not making this up. there's a good article on how light kills birds here [greennature.com] .

Not really true anymore. (1)

Medievalist (16032) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839270)


Back when I was in grade school and solar cells were made with selenium paste, your assertion was entirely correct. But nowadays you've got companies like AstroPower [astropower.com] that make their cells from recycled materials, so their products represent a huge improvement.

Once you've run an Astropower panel for a couple of years you've more than paid for the total pollution cost of manufacture, and after 20 years (they last longer than that usually) you've made an enormous difference in the amount of pollution that was required to produce the energy you used during that time.

Re:Solar? (1)

caino59 (313096) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839154)

duh, you're killing the sun....i mean, c'mon ;o)

Re:Solar? (4, Funny)

DaHat (247651) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839165)

UV Radiation no doubt, or not.

Just imagine a microwave installation receiving power from space, flapping birds would enter one side, and a KFC would set up shop on the other (yes, I know such frying would require a high intensity area).

What collects the sun? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7839267)

And what used to live on the sunshine you're now blocking?

Re:Solar? (1)

critter_hunter (568942) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839296)

You'll probably get birds to land on the damn thing and either cook themselves or get cancer or something.

Back in the day, we called that 'natural selection'.

If those birds are so smart (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7839116)

why are they dead?

Not all bad (1, Interesting)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839118)

These birds are going back into the ecosystem as food for other animals so it's not quite as bad as burning old animals (fossel fuels).

Re:Not all bad (2, Interesting)

TokyoBoy (217214) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839215)

...it's not quite as bad as burning old animals (fossel fuels).

Of course I'm sure you ment to say "...it's not quite as bad as burning old plants (fossel fuels)" as everyone knows that fossel fuels are the remains of plants (tropical), not animals. 8^)

Re:Not all bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7839232)

soon all the dead birds will be a nice source of oil

Re:Not all bad (1)

Jeff_West01 (694762) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839256)

No they are not. When they are found by rangers they are taged and placed in freezers. When the freezers are full they burn them.

Re:Not all bad (2, Insightful)

chunkwhite86 (593696) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839282)

These birds are going back into the ecosystem as food for other animals so it's not quite as bad as burning old animals (fossel fuels).

The same logic could be applied for the killing of whales, sea turtles and other rare animals. They are going back into the ecosystem! After I eat my three endangered sea turtles for dinner (yum!!), I will later crap them out and that crap will become food for bacteria.

Or those endangered elephants. That ivory sure is nice! And isn't it wonderful how that huge dead carcas then becomes food for so many other animals! Yay!

Re:Not all bad (1)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839297)

Solar panels have all kinds of nasty stuff in them.

There's a time and place for everything (5, Insightful)

bloggins02 (468782) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839121)

Ya know, at one point I might have cared, but we need to end our reliance on petroleum Real Soon Now(TM), mostly for environmental consequences far greater than 22,000 birds over 20 years, not to mention the socio-political impact of foreign oil dependance.

Anything we can do to remove ourselves from our current situation is beneficial, so with that I say... ...fuck the birds.

Re:There's a time and place for everything (0)

chadm1967 (144897) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839247)

I agree that we need to end our reliance on oil but come on!!! Birds are dying! Rare birds, at that!

Nice language, by the way....idiot!

I think it has something to do with location (5, Informative)

HerringFlavoredFowl (170182) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839123)

I remember seeing something about it's location being in a migratory flight path and other wind projects did not have the same problem.

Re:I think it has something to do with location (5, Funny)

cnkeller (181482) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839319)

I remember seeing something about it's location being in a migratory flight path and other wind projects did not have the same problem.

Nah, it's probably the guy that hung the birdfeeders behind the turbine....

Eh... Big deal... (5, Funny)

iiioxx (610652) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839124)

Evolution in action. Obviously it only kills the dumb birds, the *smart* birds fly *around* the propellors...

I wish we could take this tact with the human population. I say, take the warning labels off of everything and let the chips fall where they may.

Mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7839197)

There is more truth to this post then you realize.

Re: It already exists for humans (0, Offtopic)

BlueTrin (683373) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839249)

... it is called Kazaa =)

Re:Eh... Big deal... (0)

chadm1967 (144897) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839287)

Uh, excuse me, Slashdot......how is this funny? :-(

The smart birds.... (1)

JohnTheFisherman (225485) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839318)

...listened to Jimmy, the "Don't Hold On To A Large Magnet While Someone Else Uses A Fan Nearby" Falcon!

I guess since he retreated to the Island of Misfit Mascots, they haven't been listening as much....

Skyscrapers kill incredible numbers of birds. (1)

Medievalist (16032) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839128)

Apparently sticking anything in their flight path will do the job... I bet windmills are usually noisy enough to warn off more birds than buildings do, though.

22000? Wow! (1)

twoslice (457793) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839134)

And I always thought that two with one stone was very lucky indeed!

Build more turbines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7839139)

It will speed up the selection for birds that are smart enough to avoid wind turbines. Let's not let this tragedy continue for longer than needed.

Let me be the first to say it... (1)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839213)

It will speed up the selection for birds that are smart enough to avoid wind turbines.

I, for one, welcome our new smarter, wind-turbine-avoiding bird overlords!

~Philly

Tux (2, Funny)

DomCurtis187 (718788) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839140)

Thankfully Tux has nothing to worry about -- penguins can't fly!

Try painting the blades (2, Interesting)

TerryAtWork (598364) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839143)

or putting sparklies on them so they can be seen even though they're whirling at high speed.

On the other hand, that might ATTRACT the birds....

Re:Try painting the blades (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7839191)

I think sky blue or camouflage colors might work nicely.

-John Cats

Get with the PROGRAM (-1, Troll)

Amsterdam Vallon (639622) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839144)

How many people did YOUR GOVERNMENT kill today, huh?

Think about it.

Re:Get with the PROGRAM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7839273)

You forgot "FINAL SOLUTION" (mods, check this idiot's past postings)

hmmm (-1)

ADOT Troll (687975) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839305)

-10 if you count iraqi's killing the us.

Three people a day? (5, Insightful)

FFFish (7567) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839147)

If the turbines killed three people a day... ...well, we'd probably accept that, too, just as we do for cars.

Re:Three people a day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7839259)

So. How many people a day is oil killing?

Re:Three people a day? (1)

Shut the fuck up! (572058) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839262)

If the turbines killed three people a day... ...well, we'd probably accept that,

Yeah, because they would probably be acid-tripping hippies wandering the hills of Altamont.

Re:Three people a day? (1)

ekephart (256467) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839301)

Imaging if 60 million people were killed by running out into traffic or if 98 million people were killed by running themselves into windows.

Minimum harm. (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839149)


I don't know how much a wind turbine costs, but would a mesh cage on the front add a big percentage? 'Better to look stupid than to massacre wildlife,' as the saying goes.

If windfarms are less environmentally harmful that pumping out billions of tonnes of pollutants as seems likely though, then surely we should go with the principle of minimum harm.

Re:Minimum harm. (1)

switcha (551514) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839292)

'Better to look stupid than to massacre wildlife,' as the saying goes.

I'm not so sure that's an either/or [darley.org] proposition.

Oil (1, Offtopic)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839151)

We are probably headed for world peak oil production in the next 20 years anyway. We'll have to switch to something eventually. Nuclear is probably the way to go. Say goodbye to cheap gasoline for everyone's automobiles, however. And before anyone says it, hydrogen is a pipe dream.

In other news... (1)

Berrik (632561) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839152)

Your dog wants pigeon. Berrik

This is old and misleading news (5, Informative)

Tim2 (151713) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839153)

The Altamont story about wind farms killing birds is old news. While true, the story is misleading because the vast majority of wind farms are in very different settings with a much lower thread toi birds. A much more reasoned analysis can be found here: http://www.ibiblio.org/pardo/birds/archive/archive 2/msg00468.html

Kill 22,000 birds (5, Interesting)

Freston Youseff (628628) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839166)

with 7,000 stones. In all seriousness, this number is probably tiny compared to the amount of birds that get shredded in personal, commercial and miliatary aircraft over the last 20 years. It's sort reporting the fact that blueberries are blue.

Actually.... (1)

twoslice (457793) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839233)

That would be 11,000 stones to be precise...

Acid Rain (0)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839172)

Acid rain? What is this, the 1980's? Acid rain is a myth that has been debunked for years.

Fuck you damn bunny (and bird) huggers! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7839173)

Birds fly into windows and mirrors, too! Let's ban those while we're proposing stupid shit, you fucktards!

Kee-rist, it's "damned if you do and damned if you don't" with you fucking granola-munchers, isn't it? First you piss and moan that we're not using renewable energy sources like solar and wind. Now that we are, you're STILL complaining!

To close, FOAD.

solar energy (1)

stonebeat.org (562495) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839183)

'When you turn on your lights you kill something, no matter what the source of electricity.'"
Even when using solar panels??????

checkout APS Solar Test and Research [aps.com] in Tempe, Arizona. Very Cool

balance (1, Insightful)

Lord Dreamshaper (696630) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839190)

these types of articles get spun by established industries to pooh-pooh new innovation. The question is how many fish die from hydroelectric dams; how many cute, furry animals get killed by coal mining, etc; nevermind indirect effects like acid rain (indirect effects likely don't capture the public's imagination as strongly)

Mmmmm...rare birds (1)

asternick (532121) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839193)

I think I am going to eat 22,000 chickens and turkeys over the course of my life. Honestly, if wind energy results in the extinction of 10% of the world's bird species, it would STILL be worth it. In the end the "avoid spinning blades" gene would spread throughout bird populations. This "carnage" is tiny and has no chance of causing serious problems, even if the whole world was dotted with wind farms.

Acid Rain and Stupid People Like the Author of... (0, Flamebait)

Dinglenuts (691550) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839195)

This Article. The only reason that coal plants spew acid rain is because your precious liberal idiot farms like the EPA, Greenpeace, and Sierra Club have consistently prevented old plants from upgrading to cleaner equipment and from building new coal plants that are just as clean as NatGas plants. Look at the 10-k of any major energy company to find pages of litigatory idiocy. Thanks a lot, hippies. I hope you all die.

Survival of the fittest people! (1)

katpurz (721210) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839196)

We should start being worried when the BIRDS create some turbines that start killing humans... Until then, tree-hugging hippies should just have kids... then they would quit worrying about birds...

Sonics (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839199)

can the use sonics to make the birds go around?

birds (1)

chunkwhite86 (593696) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839202)

including hundreds of golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, kestrels and other raptors

African or European?

Low Tech Solution (1)

CompressedAir (682597) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839207)

Make the turbines look like giant scarecrows. Also doubles as a cool place to hang out on Halloween.

Warning: Driving Kills Innocent Animals and Bugs (2, Funny)

Limecron (206141) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839211)

I recommend all people stop driving until we can do something about the thousands of innocent animals and millions of innocents insects killed by motor vehicles each day.

Thank you. :)

Part of Life (1)

DSL-Admin (597132) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839212)

Something always dies so that something else may live... it's a simple fact of life that's been around since before we were...

You don't see anyone complaining about the enormous numbers of photons that die everyday when they hit solar panels???

it takes energy to make energy... besides, those impacts might have helped out a little by pushing the blades a little faster

The power situation in America (1)

the man with the pla (710711) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839214)

It strikes me that national power systems often have dangerous reliance on a small number of big power-providers - large coal/gas/oil/nuclear stations, with electricity imported/transported down a few very large critical power lines. Alternative energy may provide a solution, because by its nature it needs a higher level of redundancy and a more intelligent and distributed power supply model. And its good for the planet too.. Wind energy has really started to prove its use here in the UK, and is set to take off in the USA too. In the UK we should have 20% of national power from the Wind by 2020, and we have the offshore sites to get 100% eventually if we wanted. Add to that Solar, Tidal, etc.. Because of the very nature of these resources local/national distribution must be better, and include mechanisms to regulate in the case of a drop in power..

Oh, and what do you do when you have excess production? Turn the electricity into Hydrogen for your cars!

--
7092108

We in the US like being.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7839326)

Bound to Middle East Oil!

1. After all, we fought 2 wars over it.
2. Are willing to fund countries where most of the 9-11 hijackers came from.
3. Guzzle said middle east oil like there is no tommorow.
4. Profit!! (Wait... wrong thread)

Easy solution! (5, Funny)

Rinikusu (28164) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839218)

Hunters. Get hunters to stand below the turbines and SHOOT the birds before they can be chopped to pieces.

Oh wait, we're saving the BIRDS not the TURBINES.. damn damn damn!

Bird repellant? (1)

BallPeenHammer (720987) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839223)

I wonder if there's some way to keep birds away from the turbines? Don't they have this problem at airports also? I know that some people use odd whistle devices on their cars to supposedly scare away deer so they (the deer) don't get hit by cars. Don't know if this works, but perhaps something similar?

Altamont (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7839224)

That wasn't the wind turbines, it was the Hells Angels.

(Posting anon to avoid getting my ass kicked.)

Acceptable - unfortunately (2, Interesting)

northwind (308027) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839229)

During the latest END (Exotic Newcastle Disease) outbreak here in Southern California an estimated 5million birds were killed. Domesticated, pets and wildlife.
So these numbers are very small even as they seem high to certain people. And I don't mean anything negative with that.

windows (1)

Beer_Smurf (700116) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839230)

Windows (not the Microsoft kind) kill huge numbers of birds each day.
Why aren't these people working against glass?

Men step on insects too (2, Insightful)

CrazyJim0 (324487) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839234)

Do insects matter compared to birds?

If so, are we supposed to stop walking in fear of killing insects and bacteria?

If man was making rotors for the express purpose of shredding birds, that would probably be evil.

Whats the count of deer killed by cars accidentally? How about deer killed by hunters intentionally?

I'm all for eco-conservation, and teraforming the earth so we have no deserts, but some wackos take things too far. Ask some crazed Peta member, you may find one who values animals more than a human life.

Chicken Little got owned! (1)

ShortedOut (456658) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839242)

Early in the article we read:

""The county did everyone a disservice by choosing to ignore the true impacts of these turbines, which are the equivalent of a terrestrial Exxon Valdez every year," said Jeff Miller, spokesman for the Center for Biological Diversity."

Yet at the end of the article we read:

Steinhour, an avid bird watcher who specializes in project development for Seawest, was incensed by the comparison of Altamont to the Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster.

"It's estimated that half a million birds died because of Exxon Valdez," said Steinhour. "It would take 400 years to reach that number here."

The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council estimates that 250,000 seabirds and 250 bald eagles died in the 1989 spill.
--------------------

Panic Panic! Slashdot has taken down BILLIONS of servers!

Killing birds by burning coal (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839243)

Assuming there were real environmental safeguards in place, unlike the Bush plans, power plants would have to minimize suphurous exhaust. A good example of what happens in concentration can be found along I-76 east of Pittsburgh, where miles of trees are dead and the bark peeling away. Not only are birds not nesting there, it's pretty unlikely anything would live there. A few trees seem to weather it, but it's a grim site.

I've driven past the large windfarm near Mojave (is that Altamont?) and there's hundreds of those things up on the mountainsides. Considering the few birds killed by such a number it seems almost acceptable, however some species like eagles and redtails have a longer turnaround for breeding, thus the impact is more dire. Undoubtably the wind that turns the turbines is what the raptors seek, as they glide in search of prey. Maybe the could put a noisemaker or some shiny pie tins on vanes. Maybe a few fake owls to keep smaller birds away. ;-)

Nice quote (5, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839245)

"Researched by Wyoming-based Western EcoSystems Technology, the report contends that many more birds are killed annually in collisions with vehicles (60 million), window panes (98 million) and communication towers (4 million) than die nationwide in wind turbines (10,000 to 40,000).

Even the common household cat, wind power industry advocates argue, is responsible for more bird deaths than turbines"

heh, a little persective, there.

Maybe the article is too subtle (1)

Matey-O (518004) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839252)

The point is: Windpower is _supposed_ to be environmentally friendly, not an ad for Ginsu!

A boon to ground based scavangers (1)

Camel Pilot (78781) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839253)

I am sure a little research could turn up some local rare ground based savanger that has become dependent on the occasional bird dropping from sky. Turn off the turbines and there goes the food supply.

Who is looking out for these little guys? Just because they don't have plumage or represent a national entity their interest are being completely being disregared in this affair.

Remember: It's an estimate by a group (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7839272)

with an agenda to shut down the turbines.
No one has counted 22,000 carcasses. As I recall from another report on this, the estimate isn't even based on studies _at this site_. They counted bird deaths at some other site, then "extrapolated" to what the count would be for Altamont Pass.

Also, as another posted commented, many more birds are killed each year by cats and cars. Let's start banning them too! /sarcasm

Is this a joke? (5, Insightful)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839274)

7000 wind turbines kill 22,000 birds in 20 years? That means that a wind turbine will kill a bird (that's "1") every 7 years or so.

To put that in perspective... I have a greenhouse (glass enclosed room) on my home. On average, one or two birds fly into it and kill themselves each year. So my greenhouse is 7-14 times as deadly to birds as a wind turbine.

This is just Darwinian selection at work. By the way, the dead birds get eaten by other birds and animals, so some number of them survive from the free meal. I think they forgot to count those.

Worthless article.

Some Perspective (5, Insightful)

worst_name_ever (633374) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839275)

Keep in mind that the wind turbines at the Altamont Pass site are 20 years old and smaller than the current generation of large wind turbines; that means they spin a lot faster, and thus give the birds less time to get out of the way. Modern turbines spin a lot slower and are situated higher off the ground, giving them much less of an impact on the local wildlife population.

Not to mention the fact that hundreds of millions of birds are killed each year through collisions with glass windows, vehicles, guy wires, and so forth.

But don't take my word for it, check out this article [cleanpowernow.org] which goes over the statistics, with references. Or, Google for yourself [google.com] .

Why don't the stupid birds (1)

Boss, Pointy Haired (537010) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839279)

look where they're going?

Are you telling me that birds simply fly along on the assumption that their path is clear?

Sounds like Darwin to me.

The're still spreading FUD (0)

xtermin8 (719661) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839288)

Yeah, Walter Cronkite was spouting this kind of crap when his neighbors on Martha's Vineyard put him up to making a public statement. He then backtracked after a few meetings with people invovled with wind energy projects and recinded his statements on the news. Its relatively cheap and easy to make windmills bird-friendly. Of course the providers have to be pressured into actually doing something. If only the headline was "wind farm owners refuse to bird-proof" I'd be less likely to dismiss the story as FUD bilge

Altamont windfarm photo (5, Interesting)

GoneGaryT (637267) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839290)

...from a kite [berkeley.edu] (no, not a bird).

It's a bit Pythonesque, really. "The residents pass along here, through the rotating knives..."

How many birds would die from a coal plant? (1)

grossdog (15657) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839291)

Easy: if the plant were plasma-filtered, none.

If the plant weren't, still none.

Acid rain doesn't directly kill birds.

Yes, there are problems with many coal plants, but spreading misinformation is no way to address environmental problems.

There's no easy solution. (2, Informative)

Fess_Longhair (695896) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839302)

When deployed on large scales, non-hydrocarbon energy sources all have downsides; e.g. salmon and dams.

Conservation still makes the most sense to me. We should get serious about reducing our energy needs with government incentives for energy efficiency.

Oil Authors? (1)

KMonk (612700) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839314)

Summary of the letter noting this: Dear Wind Power People, Please do not renew your permit. Your wind turbines are like, killing birds and starting a technology that might take over for oil... oops scratch that last part. Signed, Big Oil Guy I mean "Activist"

Birds (1)

chunkwhite86 (593696) | more than 10 years ago | (#7839323)

They should put these things up in New York City. Maybe then we can kill off some of these damn pigeons. They make a mockery of city statues and newly waxed cars. Rats with wings I call them.
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