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Despite the world-wide cover-up on bird mortality at windfarms, the odd news concerning bird stikes continue to filter. We know they are just a tiny tip of the iceberg, but from it we can form an idea of what the future will look like : our countryside converted into a never-ending industrial zone, with increasingly fewer birds of fewer species to lift our spirits.


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Picture above : two cranes recently killed by a windfarm power line near Tahivilla, Andalusia, Spain - courtesy of COCN

Tarifa ( near Gibraltar ): the small Spanish ornithological association Colectivo Ornitológico Cigüeña Negra reported the death of 7 cranes ( grus grus ) in just 3 days. The birds collided with a power line that links the Facinas windfarm to the grid. Yet the wires had been equipped with "bird-savers" to make them more visible. - Bad weather, poor visibility may have been a factor.

According to their press release it is the same power line that, in December 2006, officially killed "Jorge", the last great bustard of the province of Cadiz. I say "officially" because there is speculation that the gashing wound was actually made by a turbine blade - see pictures of the great bird here : --> Guerra abierta entre ornitólogos españoles.

At the time ( in early 2007 ), I requested the public release of the autopsy: to no avail. SEO/Birdlife (the Spanish ornithological society) not only refused to consider the possibility that a blade could have caused the wound ( as had been suggested by COCN ), but in their press release they failed to disclose that the power line had been built for the windfarm. - SEO have often played down the impact of windfarms on birds, contrary to what the public would expect from a bird society.

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Picture above : crane killed by windfarm power line en Tahivilla - courtesy of COCN

Cranes are also being killed by windfarms. In Aragon, the picture of a wing severed by a turbine has been published on Internet ( el Sekano ). It´s now been retrieved, as well as all the other pictures of birdkills ( ! ), but may be seen on my blog --> PICTURES OF BIRDS KILLED BY WINDFARMS, OF TURBINES ON FIRE, ETC.

Covering-up windfarm casualties is not particular to Spain. Many bird societies across the world act in the same manner, which happens to coincide with the interests of their benefactors. In Spain the benefactors of SEO/Birdlife are Iberdrola and Banco Triodos, both heavily invested in windpower. In the UK, the RSPB is also harming bird life by supporting windpower developments in the wrong places, and by keeping birdkill evidence to itself : see --> RSPB executives are causing severe harm to bird life

I was also informed that four great bustards ( otis tarda ) have been found last year, killed by the power line from the El Bonillo windfarm, in the province of Albacete.

In fact, a considerable number of birds are being killed by power lines worldwide. Windfarms, with their additional needs in that respect, will only exacerbate the problem .

Scientific studies have estimated that high tension lines kill on average 200 birds per kilometre (1). In migration zones, the toll is higher at 400-500 birds/km (2) & (3) .

Windfarms are often located in remote places, because renting the land is cheaper in bird reserves and other wilderness areas. In view of this, it is often necessary to run high tension lines for ten or more kilometres in order to connect a wind plant to the national grid. Using the above scientific estimates, this translates into the following bird mortality :

- 10 km of HT power lines : 2,000 bird kills per year - 4,000-5,000 in migration zones.

- 20 km of HT power lines : 4,000 bird kills per year - 8,000-10,000 in migration zones.

To this must be added the birds killed by the turbines themselves : about 25 birds/turbine/year - conservatively - see --> Chilling Statistics

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Picture above : storks that collided with power lines in Saudi Arabia. A broken wing is all it takes to condemn a bird to death. On windy days, birds fly lower and can´t manoeuvre easily. At night or in otherwise poor visibility conditions, cables may not be seen until it´s too late.

Next to be sacrificed on the altar of unreliable energy will be Extremadura, a beautiful region that offers the best winter habitat for cranes and bustards in Western Europe. In addition, it is home to 5 different species of eagles, thousands of white storks, a rare population of black storks, 3 different species of vultures, etc. - Cranes and great bustards may be seen there by the thousands every winter.

Yet the local government is hell-bent on permitting 100 windfarms and 50 solar plants to destroy this vital European habitat with thousands of kilometers of HT lines.

Planning applications are already being admitted : I know of a solar plant project, with its deadly HT power line, which is targeting a Natura 2000 area that is also a Reserve of the Biosphere and a buffer zone to the National Park of Monfragüe, famous for providing refuge to 5 different species of eagles, black storks, 3 types of vultures, peregrine falcons, etc.

A biodiversity disaster is in the making, in Spain but also in the rest of the EU, and with the complicity of bird societies . By and large, these ornithology NGOs support the onslaught of windpower on our wilderness areas. They are often being rewarded for this, through donations and a variety of contracts with electricity companies or windfarm interests ( monitoring, research etc. ).

Western Europe has never been destroying its wildlife so fast. Political hypocrisy pretending we have robust safeguards preserving our environment has never been so widespread. The European Commission, who are the ultimate guardians of our biodiversity, are fast losing their credibility - see --> Is the European Commission helping with the environmental destruction of Europe ?

Mark Duchamp....................................................Feb. 16 2008

The negative effects of windfarms: links to papers published by Mark Duchamp



(1) - 200 birds per km per year : KOOPS (1987). Based on this study, it was estimated that high tension lines in the US could be killing 130 - 174 million birds a year - Mick Sagrillo, American Wind Energy Association (2003), and also : Avian Collisions with Wind Turbines - A Summary of Existing Studies and Comparisons to Other Sources of Avian Collision Mortality in the United States - Western EcoSystems Technology Inc. (2001) - Report available upon request to : save.the.eagles@gmail.com

(2) - 400 birds per km per year in a migration zone in Germany - HOERSCHELMANN, H., A. HAACK & F. WOHLGEMUTH (1988) - Bird Casualities and Bird Behaviour at a 380-Kv-power line. Ecol. birds 10: 85-103. - Report available upon request to : save.the.eagles@gmail.com

(3) - Over 500 birds per km per year in migration zones - CONVENTION ON THE CONSERVATION OF EUROPEAN WILDLIFE AND NATURAL HABITATS - BirdLife International (2003) : Protecting Birds from Powerlines : a practical guide on the risks to birds from electricity transmission facilities and how to minimise any such adverse effects . - Report available upon request to : save.the.eagles@gmail.com

>> Autor: Mark Duchamp (15/02/2008)
>> Fuente: Mark Duchamp

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