Wind turbines: planet saviors or ecological traps?
Written by Mark Duchamp
Save the Eagles International and the World Council for Nature, the two NGOs that claim “green” policies are causing more harm than good, unite again today to issue a warning: wind turbines attract and kill bats, plus many species of birds, from many kilometers away. “Even “carefully-sited” wind farms or wind turbines will attract and kill them.”
“We recorded 11 species (of bats) … flying over the ocean up to 14 km from the shore,” wrote years ago a European authority on bats, Professor Ingemar Ahlén, in the Journal of Mammology (1). Studying bat migrations over the Baltic, professor Ahlén had found the following: “The bats did not avoid the turbines. On the contrary they stayed for shorter or longer periods hunting close to the windmills because of the accumulation of flying insects. Hunting close to the blades was observed, why the risk of colliding might be comparable to land-based turbines. Bats also used wind turbines for resting. Insects were collected at places and times when bats were observed feeding.” (2) He then discovered that some of these bats were not migrants, but commuters from the shore (see the first quote above).
It appears that swifts and swallows are also attracted to wind turbines, which is logical as an abundance of flying insects is to be found around them: “Almost one third of the birds (killed by turbines) were swallows and swifts, species that like bats hunt flying insects,” discovered professor Ahlén in an onshore study (3). A short paper by Clive Hambler, Lecturer in Biology and Human Sciences at Hertford College, University of Oxford, was just published on this new, fatal attraction. Co-signed by WCFN, the note warns of population sinks affecting bats, raptors and hirundines (swifts, swallows etc.): “We predict the extinction legacy of wind turbines will become an increasing source of concern, as ecological traps are set in vast numbers across the planet”. (4)
Save the Eagles International (STEI) have long been claiming that raptors are attracted to wind farms. They recently documented this claim with pictures (5), while scientific studies had already found evidence of it (6). “Would so many be killed around the world if they “avoided” or “were displaced” by wind turbines?” (5) – “Of course not”, says conservationist Mark Duchamp, who founded STEI: “many ornithologists doing environmental impact assessments say raptors are “displaced” by wind farms, because if they said they were “killed” they would lose their jobs.”
He continues: “Do you believe that hardly any bird & bat deaths are reported in the UK because, in that country, wind turbines are “carefully sited”? Or do you believe it’s because they don’t perform or publish monitoring studies on windfarm mortality? – We denounced this situation in an article: “Wind farms: bird mortality cover-up in the UK” (7).”
In view of the above, STEI and WCFN are hereby sounding the alarm. As they attract and kill raptors, bats and some insect-eating birds, wind turbines act as ecological traps. Consequently, they are likely to cause regional (or national) populations of many such species to disappear, and have the potential to cause global extinctions. The first to disappear could be the following: the Golden Eagle in Scotland, California and other regions, states or countries; the Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle in Australia; the Egyptian Vulture in Spain; the Seychelles swiftlet; the Cinereous Bunting in the Greek islands; the Seychelles Sheath-tailed Bat, and most probably other bat species in various parts of the world.
(1) – Behaviour of Scandinavian bats during migration and foraging at sea. Journal of Mammology, 90, 1318-1323 – Ahlén I. et al. (2009).
http://www2.ekol.slu.se/Personliga_filer/Ahlen/JmammBatsatSeaDec09.pdf(2) – Bats and offshore wind turbines studied in southern Scandinavia. Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. Report 5571. – Ahlén, I. et al. (2007). http://www.naturvardsverket.se/Documents/publikationer/620-5571-2.pdf
(3) – Wind turbines and bats – a pilot study. Report to Swedish National Energy Association. Ahlén, I. (2002).
http://publikationer.slu.se/Filer/08WindBatFinalReport.pdf (4) – Swifts and swallows are attracted to wind turbines: http://wcfn.org/2013/07/01/tip-of-the-iceberg/ (5) – Raptors are attracted to wind turbines: http://savetheeagles.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/raptors-attracted-to-windfarms-2/ (6) – “Smallwood and Thelander (2005) reported that raptors fly disproportionately close to wind turbines, flying within 50 meters of wind turbines between seven and ten times more often than expected by chance. “” “The strongest (flight) pattern was the use of ridge crests and hill peaks of slopes facing south and southwest, which were principal wind directions in the study area. Raptors used these relatively small areas for most of their foraging flights, such as hovering and kiting.” “… Raptors are thus keying in on the same topographic features that also provide ideal conditions for placement of wind turbines. ” “
“There may be additional factors attracting raptors close to wind turbines: ….. “ (a list follows)
http://www.iberica2000.org/Es/Articulo.asp?Id=4242(7) – Cover-up in the UK: http://savetheeaglesinternational.org/releases/windfarms-bird-mortality-cover-up-in-the-uk.html
Sorry for the poor quality: our website is being hacked, and we now opened a blog where we post new material – see (5) above.