Wind vs. Wings


Australia's largest wind-power farm has killed at least 11 endangered Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagles since it went online last May. Birds Tasmania chairman Dr. Eric Woehler calls the site of the wind farm a "black hole" for the eagles, since several eagle territories overlap over the area.

But Woehler also acknowledges that wind-farm operator Roaring 40s has done quite a bit to adapt to help protect local birds. Roaring 40s managing director Mark Kelleher tells the Australian Broadcasting Company: "There's certain directions and speeds of winds that seem to attract the eagles closer to the turbines... So we have shut down times during those periods of time."

Roaring 40s also reports it is looking at how other wind farms have adapted, and is looking into installing radar systems to detect incoming eagles or sirens to ward them off.

Wind-power opponents often claim that wind turbines endanger wildlife (including bats and birds), but several studies prove the opposite -- and show that other human activities cause much more damage to bird populations. Glass windows, housecats, and cars and trucks combined kill more than a billion birds a year, according to consultant group Curry & Kerlinger. That puts the few deaths from wind turbines in perspective, don't you think?

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Comments

For the record, Roaring 40s Woolnorth Wind Farms have resulted in the deaths of 11 Wedged-tailed Eagles since December 2004, not May 2007 as your article States.

The wind farm is divided into 2 stages, the first stage, Woolnorth Bluff Point, has experienced 8 mortalities since 2004, while stage 2, Woolnorth Studland Bay, has resulted in 3 mortalities since March 2007.

Both the wind farms are operating inside the permit conditions applied as part of the approval process and documented in the Environmental Management Plan.

Thanks for the clarification!

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