Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wind Turbines Eating Entire Bird Populations?

During my last semester at school, I got to write a fairly enjoyable paper on the dangers that wind turbines pose to bat populations.  To make a long story short, bats are getting killed by wind turbines as their navigation systems are "jammed" by the noise created by the rotating blades.

A "similar" event is happening with wind turbines killing birds as they migrate. I place similar in quotations because birds do not use sonar to navigate, and to be completely honest these birds aren't presenting as challenging of a problem as the bats.
A spokeswoman for the American Bird Conservancy rants:
Golden eagles, whooping cranes and greater sage-grouse are likely to be among the birds most affected by poorly planned and sited wind projects.
Because these birds are migrating, a simple solution to the bird kills is to shut off the turbines during migration season.  This isn't that difficult to do because migration patterns are relatively predictable and fall along pretty standard paths.  Obviously it isn't perfectly mechanical and there will be variability in how birds actually do migrate, but shutting off certain turbines makes more sense than just abandoning construction of clean energy entirely in these areas.

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