Saturday, November 14, 2009

In Order to Save the Planet We Killed the Birds

A friend emailed me tonight to point out that Spain was getting 50% of its electricity from wind power. That made me recall an article I had seen a month or so ago. it suggested that there was a problem, but I couldn't recall what it was (having an old brain is like having a car without a motor). Like many, my friend, not to mention yours truly, is skeptical of global warming, but also is fearful of running out of oil. We have discussed both over the months. We will need a new energy source.

I searched my database and found that I had not made notes on that Spanish wind turbine problem. I wasn't sure what journal (I take many) it was to be found in. So, I searched. Bingo. I found it, and it tells a sad story of the lack of foresight amongst the greens.

Here is the anthropogenic global warming logic. In order to save the planet, we must go to green energy sources, wind, solar, geothermal, hydrological. That, it is said, will remove CO2 from the atmosphere and save us from the hellish heat they predict. So far so good (except the impact of CO2 is 1/5 (source) of what they claim, but other than that... going green is ok with me).

But it isn't OK with the vultures, bats or other birds. A recent study of Egyptian vultures in Spain showed that the wind farms are going to drive the vulture extinct. (source). But it isn't just vultures.

Bats too seem to love to collide with wind power turbines. (source). It also seems that the air pressure drop behind the turbines, busts up the delicate lungs of the bats.

And then there are the condors that wind turbines are killing--via collision.

Yep, going green to save the planet means vultures, condors and bats must die. Ain't saving the planet nice?

The problem with the greens is that they can't seem to think one step beyond where they are. They want to get rid of CO2 and urge going to wind power. But then, they didn't think about what those rotating blades would do to the flying wild life. It is an abysmal lack of foresight on their part.


  1. The geographical area in the USA being considered prime territory for wind power, the prairies east of the Rockies is also a major migratory corridor for birds for the same reason that it s attractive for wind power installations, the seasonal directionality of the wind helps with the movements of the birds. Besides the horrible direct impact on flying creatures, not just big, charismatic ones as condors, vultures and eagles but also less known ones such as migratory songbirds, sandpipers and plovers etc there is also the impact of the physical area necessary for those "green" energy installations on wildlife habitat.

    The environmental cost of wind, solar and hydro-electrical power extends beyond their direct impact on wildlife, these are also landscape devouring technologies whose footprint in terms of square-mile per megawatt produced is huge. Where we to attempt to produce a significative fraction of our electricity using wind the impact on natural habitat would be huge as land currently available for wildlife and other non-consumptive uses would be gobbled up in enormous amounts. For a discussion of this, by people that are sympathetic to the current climate hysteria, see

    Dalcio Dacol
    Gainesville, Florida

  2. Glenn, I live in Maine and I recently heard on the news that one of our big green groups was opposing a large wind installation. I guess this is why.

    Any possibility birds will micro-evolve to avoid this? I imagine foxes and deer and such used to hit cars a lot more often than they do now. Just a guess.

    While conservatives will have no problem stating that if its between birds and people, people win, we are probably in trouble if even the greens can't support wind power. I have seen a couple of windmill designs that are supposed to be bird-friendy(ier) but I have no idea where they stack up on efficiency.

  3. People forget two engineering rules of thumb:
    1.You can never do just one thing every action has side effects.
    2.There are no free lunches, somewhere you pay.

    The nature groups here seem quieter than they were about windmills and birds.