Posts Tagged ‘Altamont Pass’

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Birds killed by windmills: Fact or foul?

by The Green A-Team

Birds killed by windmills.

Should construction on new wind farms be stopped?

As we race to live the dream of clean energy we are confronted with obstacles on every front, whether it be inefficient technology, flawed design, or in the case of wind energy, bird life.

James Castle is a Lecturer in the Department of Environmental Studies at San Jose State University and an expert in a bird kill study at Altamont Pass, known to be one of the most notorious sites for avian mortality.

The industry itself is actually helping out.  They are shutting down wind turbines in the winter when the largest amount of birds are passing through.  They also have improved some of the new designs so that they reduced the impact on birds.

As windmill design has improved with larger, slower moving blades easily dodged by flying birds, the hazard to these animals has begun to diminish.  Wind energy remains one of our greatest hopes of achieving clean energy independence and the risk to wildlife has certainly been taken into consideration as we progress.

For more on wind energy and the birds at risk, try out some of the following links:

Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group

Altamont Pass, California (The Encyclopedia of the Earth)

The Deadly Toll of Wind Power (San Francisco Chronicle)

Putting Wind Power’s Effect on Birds in Perspective (AWEA)

Photo by Charlene Burge.