Bird charity to install wind turbine, despite millions of bird deaths

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Although millions of birds are killed by wind turbines each year, the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds wants to install a wind turbine on its headquarters to reduce the group’s carbon footprint.

“A wind turbine at our UK headquarters is the single biggest step we can take to reduce our carbon emissions, and will make a significant contribution to the RSPB’s carbon reduction targets,” Paul Forecast, RSPB’s director in the East, told North American Windpower.

“We can already see the impact that climate change is having on our countryside with saltmarsh and mudflats declining at a rate of 100 hectares per year in England,” he added. “It is our responsibility to protect the rest of our environment for future generations.”

Despite, their title, RSPB has been taking large amounts of money from the wind power industry. James Delingpole reports that “in its latest ‘partnership deal’, the bird charity receives £60 for every member who signs up to a dual-fuel account with windfarm developer Ecotricity… It also receives £40 each time  a customer opens an account  with Triodos Bank, which finances renewable industry projects including wind turbines.”

Wind farms kill millions of birds worldwide every year, according to the bird enthusiast group SEO/Birdlife. Each windmill in the world kills between 110 and 330 birds per year — meaning 22 million birds are killed worldwide annually.

However, RSPB is adamant that well placed wind turbines will not harm birds, and the wind turbine they plan to install at their headquarters won’t harm birds either.

“We have been conducting assessments over the last 18 months on all aspects of the wind turbine proposal and how it could affect the surrounding area,” Forecast said. “These assessments analyzed potential impacts that include landscape and visual amenity, cultural heritage, ecology, ornithology, hydrology, noise, transport, access, and shadow flicker. Data has confirmed that there is unlikely to be any significant impact on local residents or wildlife.”

Numerous reports have come out detailing how windmills kill hundreds of thousands of birds every year, including rare and endangered birds, in the U.S.

“I estimated 888,000 bat and 573,000 bird fatalities/year (including 83,000 raptor fatalities) at 51,630 megawatt (MW) of installed wind-energy capacity in the United States in 2012,” writes K. Shawn Smallwood, author of a study that was published in the Wildlife Society Bulletin.

Earlier this summer, bird enthusiasts watched in horror as the rare white-throated needletail flew into a wind turbine and died on the Outer Hebrides.

“This wasn’t even a turbine on a huge wind farm. It was a solitary turbine to provide power to a small community,” said a 38-year old who witnessed the bird hit the turbine. “There is huge concern in Scotland about plans for big wind farms and the danger they would pose to big birds of prey like golden eagles and sea eagles.”

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