Are wind turbines killing off the whooping crane population?

The Whooping Crane

The Whooping Crane (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An attempt to stimulate discussion about whether or not wind turbines could kill off all endangered whooping cranes in only five years, as some environmentalists suggest.

Guest post by Caleb Shaw

I am having trouble getting to the bottom of a serious issue, (or a serious issue for a bird lover like myself.) It may well be that wind turbines are killing endangered birds, and may lead to the extinction of the California Condor and the Whooping Crane.

Because wind turbines involve a great deal of capital, (not merely the big-bucks of fat-cats, but also and especially the political capital surrounding the save-the-world idea of Global Warming,) the bullying of media-warping power politics seems to be involved.  You can’t get a straight answer to a simple question.

All I want to know is whether or not the population of whooping crane has fallen by over a hundred, since wind turbines were erected in their flyways.

I think it may well have happened, but because the government would get bad press if such was “a fact,” the facts get muddled. The government is on record as saying wind turbines are good, and has invested huge amounts of taxpayer’s money in erecting them.  They will downplay bad news.  One way to downplay is to change the way of counting whooping cranes. For 61 years an aerial count was used. Now a new “hierarchical distance sampling” is used, and gives a number with an absurd degree of uncertainty. .

What is the degree of uncertainty?  “Plus or minus 61 whooping cranes.”  That could be as much as a half of the total population. It is a failure to give an honest questioner an honest answer.

261 would not be good news, but would indicate the population was at least holding steady, however, if you subtract 61 from the positive direction and go 61 in the other direction, you have 139 whooping cranes, which is an environmental disaster.

It also would be a political inconvenience, and a business inconvenience to all fat cats who have invested huge amounts of money into the enormous, towering, and very ugly turbines.

However I always thought true environmentalists didn’t care about what was inconvenient for politicians, and inconvenient for fat cats, and instead cared about what was inconvenient for whooping cranes.

When you can’t even get the data that matters, not even from the Environmental Protection Agency, it starts to look like environmentalists have been bought out by, and have sold out to, fat cats and politicians. I always thought that was the one thing that environmentalists never, ever would do.

I figured environmentalists needed to be warned.  Therefore I left the following comment, (actually a sort of letter-to-the-editor,) at the environmentalist website Wind Turbine Syndrome, on the post:   http://www.windturbinesyndrome.com/2012/the-free-flying-whooping-crane-population-will-be-lost-within-5-years-avian-wildlife-expert/#comment-20922

“I have linked to your story in a post at my obscure website: http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/for-the-birds/

I have also left links to your post when I comment at other websites.

The problem is that environmentalists have overused the sympathy of the public, because some less-than-altruistic environmentalists have raised the alarm, but have done so for reasons that involve political and even business interests.  By allowing such people to infiltrate our ranks we have dug a grave for ourselves, because we are now like the little boy who cried wolf.  When we raise the alarm, the public rolls their eyes and doesn’t listen.

An example of such a false alarm may well be the “snail darter,” which is a small fish which lives in a California delta.  Because California’s climate has included both copious rainfalls and withering droughts, the delta has varied hugely, and the little fish has evolved to cope with tremendous variations. However the environmentalists involved made it sound like the slightest bit of irrigation in America’s richest farmland, (which has the longest growing season,) could wipe the obscure minnow out, by reducing the water in the delta.

While there are good arguments on both sides, the uproar made environmentalists look bad for two reasons. First, it made them look like they cared more for a few hundred minnows than feeding hundreds of thousands of Americans.  Second, it made them look like liars, when it turned out that particular minnow had survived horrific historic droughts when the delta was practically dry. Once environmentalists have been made to look bad in this manner, the public is slow to forgive the stain on their reputation.

The whooping crane population was down to around 21 in 1941.  It was only due to the work of altruistic environmentalists, who worked hand in hand with Washington DC, that the population bounced back to over 200.  It is a triumph, and shows environmentalism at its best.

We need to return to that goodness, but we cannot do so with people who abuse environmentalism in our ranks.  We are like a beautiful garden, but our ranks contain some rank weeds.

Some of our members are merely young, and need the guidance of older and wiser members. However others are rather obviously more interested in money, quick profits, and power politics than anything that has to do with keeping nature in balance, and beautiful creatures alive.

None of us much likes to be disagreeable, but we had better disagree with these people, who are actually fakes and phonies.  In the most polite manner possible, we need to bring up the truth and demand the facts, and confront them.  They are corrupting a beautiful thing, and if we don’t stand up for what environmentalism stands for, we are standing by as a sewer pipe pollutes a beautiful river, but in this case the river is environmentalism itself.

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Tom

Oh dear oh dear, environmentalists turned out not to be the fearless seekers of truth and doers of right you thought? Sorry to see your illusions crumble. *Everyone* is self-interested and corruptible – that’s why we like separation of powers and checks and balances.
On more specific points, citing an uncertainty on a measurement is a good thing and should always be encouraged. The fact you don’t like how uncertain the measurement is means more research is needed to make the measurement more accurate, not that someone is trying to cheat you.
Call me cynical, but I think I’ve found a pattern in opinions regarding wind farms. They are ugly, noisy, bird-shredding, health destroying blights on modern civilisation… unless you have one on your land. See, turbine owners pay good money to lease very small parcels of land to put turbines on (around $5,000 per annum for a quarter of an acre to put a turbine on is fairly typical). That’s good money – there aren’t many sorts of farming that will earn you $20k per acre, especially since the farmer can still use most of the land for grazing. Now, funnily enough, once someone offers to put one on your land, your opinion changes. They’re not ugly any more, they’re graceful. All the research shows the average turbine kills somewhere between 0.6 and 1 bird per year – compare that to the *billions* of birds killed by windows each year! There’s no evidence at all that turbines produce significant quantities of low-frequency noise at any distance or that it could have any sort of health impact if they did. Turbine developments aren’t opposed by communities, only by very vocal minorities who are mis-guided, needing education.
It’s honestly getting to the point where one of the major considerations in planning a wind farm is to make sure each landowner in the area has at least one turbine on their property – that way no-one will oppose it. Somehow all these health and environmental problems just… melt away.

ConfusedPhoton

Environmentalism is not conservationism. Environmentalism is a political movement whose followers want to change the world into some form of mythical Utopia. People like Rachel Carson pay little attention to real science but use any “science” to support their position. The end justifies the means is acceptable if you are saving the planet. Conservationism has a much longer history and is about preserving what we have.

Dodgy Geezer

…However I always thought true environmentalists didn’t care about what was inconvenient for politicians, and inconvenient for fat cats, and instead cared about what was inconvenient for whooping cranes….
Many humans are activists of one kind or another. Some campaign to rescue starving children in Africa, some to conserve wildlife, some to prevent the demolition of historical buildings…..
One thing common to all of this activity is that the activism often does not go away when the initial object is achieved. Having started up a movement – particularly if it has become big enough to employ people, the movement is self-perpetuating, and goes out looking for more starving children to rescue, more buildings to save, etc. About 30 years ago, the big charities started employing professional fund-gatherers – at that point their movements became divorced from reality. It became essential that starving children existed – indeed, that their numbers were growing. Old warehouses and shacks suddenly became historic, and, as you have seen, Snail Darters suddenly became rare….
Your problem is not that ‘environmentalists have sold out to Big Business’. Your problem is that environmentalists have BECOME big business in their own right. As have many charities before them.
In the same way as scientific hypotheses should be capable of being falsified, a truly caring activist should be capable of deciding that they have succeeded and need do no more. If they become convinced that they will ALWAYS need to be engaged, then do not be surprised if they make up false exaggerated reasons to protest, and ignore any inconvenient facts, such as bird deaths, or mathematical mistakes in climate graphs which other people question them about..

oldgamer56

Tom, please post a picture of your house sitting near the windmill farm. That way we can believe you have first hand experience. Otherwise, you sound like you are writing from talking points provided by the wind farm industry.
Otherwise, just Goggle “wind farm lawsuits” Here is one site: http://saveourstateri.org/wind_power_problems.htm
I do remember reading about a school that installed a wind turbine and quickly shut it down to spare the children the trauma of seeing all the dead birds. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/7870929/Primary-school-forced-to-turn-off-wind-turbine-after-bird-deaths.html
Plus the wind industry appears to be hiding total bird deaths by restricting the area they look for dead birds and the frequency with which the check. Not the actions of a good environmental partner.
Given all the costs, known problems and environmental issues, wind farms are a boondoggle of massive proportion and will go the way of the steam automotive engine.

Keitho

Good work Caleb, and nicely presented too. The abuse of environmental issues for political gain is a disgrace and it ultimately degrades all environmental activism and concern.
It certainly seems to me that many of these renewable energy schemes would not get through impact assessment if they were treated like all other developments that were not the flavour of the day amongst the anti energy wierdos.

Jakehig

I had a similar experience here in the UK, trying to get the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) to tell me what figures they have for wind farm mortality of birds and bats. There was lots of mealy-mouthed waffling about wind farms being perfectly acceptable provided that they complied with certain guidelines but no figures were forthcoming. Then I read that the RSPB has plans for a turbine at its own headquarters and has had some form of “commercial arrangement” with one of the power companies.
Digging around on the web did throw up a few studies which indicated significant kill rates.
I am now an ex-member.
On the point about environmentalists “selling out”, did’nt one of the big US groups take many millions from a gas company to support a campaign against coal?

Otter

Last fall they cut down an Eagle’s nest, just a few miles to the west of us, to make room for a wind turbine. An officer of the MNR (This is southern Ontario, Niagara region) was there, but had his back turned to the operation.
Many environmentalists DO NOT CARE what happens to birds, bats, or even humans- those wind turbines are SAVING THE WORLD!
It has been noted by one letter writer in a local newspaper- The Sachem- than all of the massive wind turbines going up / possibly going up, are located in conservative ridings. NOT ONE is located in liberal ridings.
My wife and I are currently part of one of the 14 lawsuits against wind turbines. They are planning to put up 600-foot-tall turbines within two miles of us. Over 70 across the region.

tmitsss

The snail darter lives in the Tennessee River. The delta smelt is the California fish.

Evan Jones

The snail darter lives in the Tennessee River. The delta smelt is the California fish.
He who smelt it delta it?

RE: Tom says:
May 13, 2013 at 1:47 am
1.) If I was sure wind turbines only killed 0.6 birds a year, I wouldn’t have written what I wrote.
2.) I looked into wind turbines for my farm, and decided against it. I wouldn’t do it, even for $20,000/ year, and even if they didn’t harm birds.
3.) The delta smelt issue cost a great many farmers a lot of money. Why should “farmers” (your words) get a free pass with wind turbines?
I have to go to work, but will respond to other comments later.

Robin

I only have a small woodlot, but I have noted decline in the number of nests each year since 2000. I have suspected the cause to be wind turbines. They have increased in number to the south and west. I wish there was more research on this serious issue.

According to FWS the Aransas-Wood Buffalo flock was ~1,000 individuals and ~250 mating pairs in the 2011-2012 survey. http://www.fws.gov/refuge/aransas/science/whooping_crane_surveys.html
FWS said that this was the last wild flock. Your numbers seem to be different. I’m not sure I understand the issue, but getting a year-by-year population estimate didn’t readily pop up on a quick search. Is the count actually decreasing?

Jimbo

Nice one Caleb Shaw. Here is something from Pointman which really says it all just 4 days back. He says much of what you said but in a longer, sharper essay.
http://thepointman.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/some-thoughts-about-policy-for-the-aftermath-of-the-climate-wars/

C.M. Carmichael

I think the people who truly concern themselves with the preservation of nature are conservationist, the people who use the environment as an excuse to impose ridiculous policies are environmentalist. There has to be a way to separate the wheat from the chafe.

Eliza

I put it to you that this article may well end the use of wind turbines worldwide (thats if it gets to mainstream SMS). Most environmentalists will be totally ashamed and shocked and will request an immediate stop to their use.

CRS, Dr.P.H.

I don’t know about the whooping crane, but wind turbines are killing off Illinois’ industry! http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-0513-renewables-fix-20130513,0,7338895.story

Actually, years ago I used to post comments using the nom de internet: taxistan. In those days I use to post about the birds on my bird feeder and how they viewed the warmists. Those days are gone. Now they are killing whooping cranes and (read the California news) condors. These people do not care about Nature, they only care about wind farms. What sick people are like this. Like most sick people they count on the sane amongst us not realizing how sick they are. Sick as in mentally insane!

CodeTech

I read the claim about the whooping cranes last night from a link in the open thread.
I think it’s possible they really are being killed that rapidly. However, my experience with certain “groups” is that you can rarely trust their claims.
I would ask “where are the bodies”, but I do know that people pick up bird carcasses from below wind farms and get rid of them. Not a conspiracy theory, just the reality of it.
I’m currently on a rant against these things. Of all the horrors ever visited upon the bird population, these things ARE THE WORST. Birds have survived plagues, starvation, being hunted, having their habitat replaced with subdivisions. but the ultimate insult is throwing giant clubs in their migration routes to knock them out of the sky.
It’s horrible and I’m ashamed that the wind turbine blight has gotten this far. Did nobody learn ANYTHING from the 70s?

NOTE: The winter 2011-12 count presented many challenges to getting an accurate total. Warm weather and extreme drought conditions on the Texas wintering grounds in winter 2011-02 are believed to have caused much wider dispersal of cranes, making a direct count difficult. Whoopers that normally remain on or near Aransas NWR were detected in Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and eight counties in Texas. Officials had hoped for 300 Whooping cranes to migrate south after the 2011 breeding season in Canada.
The winter 2012-13 count was not finalized until March 2013, and it was based on a new method. Bologists at Aransas NWR have switched from direct count to estimates.
They live in Canada in the summer and Texas in the winter, unless there is this humongous drought in Texas and they winter wherever looks good to them instead. Drought caused this change, most likely….

Jarrett Jones

Extinctions due to global warming:
Whooping Crane
California Condor
SW Asia Tiger
Orangutan
The first two due to windmills.
The second two due to clearing the rain forest to grow biofuel (palm oil).
Meanwhile the polar bears are just fine.

NoFixedAddress

“The whooping crane population was down to around 21 in 1941.”
Sounds like a species that is dead.

On the Indonesian islands where orangutans live, the native people call them the “Jungle Man.” Horrific and disgusting that they are dying off. Biofuels, the stupid, it burns…

wwschmidt

“I always thought that was the one thing that environmentalists never, ever would do.”
HA! HA! HA! Best joke I’ve heard in a while, that’s a good one! Thanks!!!

Each windmill not only kills birds but costs more than it produces. What is sustainable about them?

PaulH

When the environmentalist industry teams up with big industry and big politics, the combined entity needs a common enemy to attack: normal people. Even conservationists are being dragged into this pit, as the new breed of conservationists want to forbid people from entering their protected regions for any reason. A sad state of affairs.

starzmom

As noted above, the delta smelt is the fish in the California deltas, and yes, it has survived lots of different climatic and seasonal weather conditions. The snail darter is a small fish that made it to the Supreme Court as an endangered species along a river in Tennessee. The Tellico Dam was authorized by Congress directly without regard to the little fish, which turned out to be not so endangered as originally thought and was found along many Tennessee rivers and streams.
Many environmental groups have a habit of preferring survival of wildlife over survival of people, often without sufficient information to know if the wildlife survival is even threatened. But they also have a bad habit of preferring their pet projects over the survival of truly endangered species, with plenty of information to show that projects will endanger rare species. This incomprehensible double standard has turned them into self interested politicians and nothing more.

papiertigre

All the research shows the average turbine kills somewhere between 0.6 and 1 bird per year – compare that to the *billions* of birds killed by windows each year!
When’s the last time you had to deal with a bird that kill itself by flying wrecklessly into your house? Wouldn’t that be more akin to bird suicide? All the birds I know are amazingly aeronautic, competent and careful flyers. Gifted in this way.
Anecdotal sure.

@CodeTech ” but the ultimate insult is throwing giant clubs in their migration routes to knock them out of the sky.”
I have heard passing birds are “sucked into” the turbines as they fly pass by. Is this true? I presume the bigger the wingspan the bigger the pull? Anyone got any views on this? Is there a radius around the turbines that becomes a killing zone and do the bigger gliding birds get pulled in more than small fast flapping birds. Not a scientist myself – has any researh been done?

Rod

Tom, Regarding your $5,000 payment to the landowner, let’s cut all the subsidies to zero and reverse all the laws calling for a set amount of “green” power usage, and then see if the landowners will still take the resulting payments offered to them. My guess is that doing so would end the entire matter.

Ryan

Recent losses have been put down as most likely due to poor wetland management in the courts by the foremost crane experts in the country. I don’t understand how anyone can claim to be trying to “get to the bottom of this” and completely miss the available explanations.
800+ ppm will pretty much guarantee their extinction, yes?

JA

“However I always thought true environmentalists didn’t care about what was inconvenient for politicians, and inconvenient for fat cats, and instead cared about what was inconvenient for whooping cranes.”
Uh, well, you would be dead wrong. Enviros care only about imposing their socialist, neo-communist world view upon the great unwashed masses. Environmentalism , the successor to world-wide communism, took root upon the fall of the USSR.
The hero of the left, the USSR, when extinguished, had to be replaced with another phoney cause that would bring down the root of all evil in the world; CAPITALISM.
Ergo, let’s invent a new ideology – the RELIGION OF ENVIRONMENTALISM and a new deadly gas, CO2.
The environmental movement could care less about the environment. If they could impose their world communist/socialist govt. upon us at the cost of the elimination of all wildlife and forests, they would agree to this trade-off faster than white on snow.

John

To simplify things, there are two general classes of environmentalists:
1. Those who care most for nature, birds, species extinctions, wild animals and places, habitat; and
2. Those who care most about energy and environmental issues, air and water pollution of various sorts, especially CO2.
Environmentalists of the second type have far more money for politics. The Sierra Club (second kind of environmental group) already was wealthy before Aubrey McClendon (then CEO of the natural gas exploration firm, Chesapeake Gas) gave them $25 million for the Sierra Club’s campaign against coal. (The Nature Conservancy — and example of the first kind of environmental group — often raises large amounts of money, but it isn’t given to politicians via PAC contribution, it is used primarily to purchase land.)
Did the environmentalists “sell out” to fat cats, politicians, and the Administration? Or did the second kind of environmentalist, with far more money, win the battle over the first type of environmentalist, with lots of PAC money contributions and paid TV ads, and the like?

To papiertigre:
I have seen birds flying into my house on many occasions, both striking windows, and, when I had a white stucco home, into the walls themselves. It mostly happens in twilight, and yes, many of the birds die from the impact. One mourning dove recently flew into a window on my second story landing and left a sad outline of itself in bird dander, so it certainly happens.

Dodgy Geezer

Mary Shelley warned mankind about ‘Frankenstein’s Monster’ – something we create and then cannot control.
But nobody reads books any more….

Over the past few weeks I’ve seen components heading north on Vancouver Island for an ‘experimental’ wind generation project of three turbines. Usually around nine in the evening on Nanaimo Parkway heading north.
Link to story here: http://www.timescolonist.com/timberwest-looks-to-build-wind-towers-to-explore-island-s-power-potential-1.110413
Vancouver Island was almost the last refuge for Bald Eagles until they came off the endangered species list in 2007. Now I fear that situation may be reversed.

aharris

The first and hardest lesson to learn – socialist/communists do not care for the environment. The second lesson is that the Green movement was long ago co-opted by the socialist/communists. Where wind farms and other green energy ventures are concerned, the important thing is government control not whether or not the birds live or die.
As a conservationist, I share you concern, but what can you do? Almost all the groups who claim to care are really committed to fighting global warming and green energy like wind farms.

John R T

Caleb, more data
http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Quivira/wildlife_and_habitat/whooping_crane.html
– “Current Whooping Crane Population (as of August 2011)” 599, including 162 captive

uncial

Because the snail darter doesn’t live in California NOR in a fluctuating-water-level river delta, this entire article is suspect. If you want to deal in facts, author–GET FACTS to deal with!! I, too, would like to see some actual data on wildlife-kill by wind turbines, and the data are impossible to come by, but there is a reason for this. Virtually no one is taking data any more!! As a retired biologist, I find this both appalling and frightening. Taking real data on which to base conclusions is vital (but involves expertise and long-term commitment. Too boring, people??). Now we have incredibly flawed computer models based on not enough data to base them on, and are coming to badly flawed conclusions–scarier than you think. There’s no substitute for data, and no excuse for failing to gather easily obtainable real facts before writing an article like this.

Clive

Good item. Thanks.
Michael Moon makes a good point…we have to be very careful to assess real causes of population declines. (Some media reported that thousands of old Brits died this winter because of high fuel prices. Perhaps true in part, but mainly the result of poorly insulated dwellings.)
Here in SW Alberta, we have several hundred turbines which is despise. (Just sent a 17-page letter about the damn things.) What I really want is a photo of a dead bald eagle in the area of turbines…one obviously killed by blades. Whoopers do not go though our area, so that option is not open for me.
A photo of a dead crane would be worth millions to bring home one of the primary concerns with turbines. Imagine a good photo of a crane on the front page of newspapers (does anyone read newspapers anymore) or on the 6 o’clock news. Would do wonders to raise questions about turbines.
One big issue is that all of our turbines are on private land and obviously landowners making tens of thousands annually (there are huge farms here with dozens of turbines) won’t invite you on to photograph dead birds.
We need some good photos of dead eagles (or cranes) to spread though the media.
Probably not about to happen.

LamontT

I’m all for Environmental Conservation. I am completely opposed to Environmentalism. The first involves logically working to maintain a healthy balance in the local environment. The second is a mindless emotional worship of nature that seeks to freeze it into a snapshot and prevent change.
Thus Environmental Conservation is a dynamic healthy state for the world and Environmentalism is a static stagnant approach to the world where nothing is allowed to ever change.

Jeff Alberts

Dodgy Geezer says:
May 13, 2013 at 7:00 am
Mary Shelley warned mankind about ‘Frankenstein’s Monster’ – something we create and then cannot control.
But nobody reads books any more….

I read Shelley’s book recently, finished it a couple months ago. It’s not about creating something then not being able to control it, it’s about creating something without regard to the outcome, and then hating the creation.

Quick coffee break, and I can’t resist checking the comments.
It is interesting to see the ideas about there being two types of environmentalist. In one sense I agree, seeing it as a political reality. However, if it is true that, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall,” the two “sides” should have some sort of common ground. Currently the schism is so severe it looks a bit like “Divided We Fall.” Therefore those who believe in the better sort of environmentalism had better be clear what they believe in, and firm about showing those who destroy the environment the door. Exactly what to name the “good guys” and the “bad guys” isn’t yet clear. Perhaps I only thought I was an “environmentalist.” and actually I am a “conservationist”
I appreciate the various numbers people are giving, concerning Whooping Cranes. The 2011 numbers are reassuring, however I wondered about the 2013 news that they were “dispersed.” I’d never heard of cranes wintering in Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. Are we sure they aren’t just plain missing?
Here is something snipped from a comment in the Wind Turbine Syndrome website (that I link to above.)
“On January 4, 2013 The Whooping Crane Conversation Association posted this message on their site.
Total Whooper Population Count Urged:
Whooping Crane Conservation Association (WCCA) president Lorne Scott has urged Secretary Ken Salazar, U.S. Department of the Interior to resume regular aerial total population counts of whooping cranes on Aransas Refuge. The aerial census of the total whooping crane population has been used for the past 61 years. During 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided to convert to a statistical survey method using hierarchical distance sampling. In a letter to Secretary Salazar, President Scott writes, “The WCCA sees the total count census as the most practical, economical and having the most scientific value”. Citing the Service’s “2011-2012 estimate of 254 plus or minus 62 Whooping Cranes”, Scott wrote, “This degree of uncertainty for a critically endangered species is simply unacceptable.
“The WCCA sees the total count census as the most practical, economical and having the most scientific value. Three aerial counts between December 1 and 20 would provide a good count of the total number of birds arriving in the winter population. Flights every two weeks, after the December 20 count, until the cranes return north, would provide estimates of population losses during the winter. We note that as of December 27, 2012, the Aransas Refuge new website still does not report any crane numbers from approximately seven flights conducted this fall. We urge you to resume regular aerial total population counts as soon as possible”.
Gotta go.

Rob Potter

There is a post on the open thread about FWS telling a wind farm company they will NOT be prosecuted for killing Condors – I will go and find it and re-post it here.

Rob Potter

Here we are:
“papiertigre says:
May 12, 2013 at 3:03 pm
This came out on Friday but was overshadowed by other acts of public treachery.
Companies won’t face charges in condor deaths from the Los Angeles Times.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grants exceptions to a wind farm and a building project in harassing or killing the endangered birds.
Federal wildlife officials took the unprecedented step Friday of telling private companies that they will not be prosecuted for inadvertently harassing or even killing endangered California condors.
In a decision swiftly condemned by conservationists and wildlife advocates, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said operators of Terra-Gen Power’s wind farm in the Tehachapi Mountains will not be prosecuted if their turbines accidentally kill a condor during the expected 30-year life span of the project.”
I think it illustrates Caleb’s point quite appropriately!

Eustace Cranch

One way of getting a feel for the danger to birds: typical average blade speed for a turbine is 50-60 mph (based on tip speed of 120mph). Flying through a wind farm would be like flying across an interstate highway at car level. And I see lots of dead birds by the highway.
Not buying the “.6 birds per year.”

Joe Crawford

Dodgy Geezer said(May 13, 2013 at 2:05 am) “… One thing common to all of this activity is that the activism often does not go away when the initial object is achieved.”
&
John said (May 13, 2013 at 6:57 am) “To simplify things, there are two general classes of environmentalists…”
Both of these statements tie to a point made my sister (who holds an MS degree in something to do with ecology) when she talks about what she calls ‘Tax Exempt Parasites’ (TEP’s) and how they have taken over most environmental organizations, charities and NGO’s in general. While the TEPs run the organizations, they rely on activists (i.e., the ‘true believers’) to provide both the support and the grunt work.
When the original cause has been solved, dis-proven or just looses popularity or support, the activists bounce over to the next great save-the-world campaign while the TEP’s either generate a new ’cause-of-the-day’ or they bounce as well. Far be it for them to hold an actual productive job in society. It has become way too easy to live off the charitable (or for that matter public) teat.

DirkH

Tom says:
May 13, 2013 at 1:47 am
“All the research shows the average turbine kills somewhere between 0.6 and 1 bird per year – compare that to the *billions* of birds killed by windows each year! There’s no evidence at all that turbines produce significant quantities of low-frequency noise at any distance or that it could have any sort of health impact if they did.”
I applaud your desire to earn money with your wind turbines on your own property. But I would encourage fair conditions:
-No subsidies. The wind project developers can earn their money on the electricity spot market.
-Liability. If your neighbours can show that infrasound from your turbines harms them they must be able to sue you. It should be possible for you to find an insurance that makes you an offer. You can pay for the liability insurance with the proceeds from the wind turbine output.
-Liability. If your wind farm kills a Golden Eagle the EPA should do with you what they do with an oil driller who kills one. I don’t know whether an insurance insures that kind of risk in the US. I think in Germany it is not possible to insure oneself against government action.
And after that is clarified, go ahead, try to earn money; on a level playing field.

DesertYote

“hen we raise the alarm, the public rolls their eyes and doesn’t listen.
An example of such a false alarm may well be the “snail darter,” which is a small fish which lives in a California delta. ”
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Need to get your “endangered” species straight. The Snail Darter is in the Tennessee River. California has the Delta Smelt. The only relationssip between these two fishes, it that the watermellons applied the techniques pioneered with the Snail Darter, decades ago, to destroy the Tenessee economy, with the Delta Smelt to try to destroy the California economy. BTW, anyone who knows even a little about fish ecology should realize, with just a little research, that any claims of endangerment of the Delta Smelt are compleatly unfounded. Its a forage species. It can double its polulation in about a year. It tolerates a huge range of water conditions, (but finds rice paddies a fine breeding ground). The main limiter of its population size is predations from such things as the introduced stripped bass.

john robertson

Looks like the bird watcher, preservation groups just found a use for civilian owned drones.
As the wind industry policy appears to be shovel&shut up, an independent verification system is needed.
Conservationists, conservatives same roots.
The zealots of Environmentalism are either very gullible or deranged. But it should be noted that a pool of well off, extremely naive people will draw the exploiters, like meat draws fly.
Show how much you care, give us your money, supplanted doing something about local problems and private responsibility.(Buy your indulgence here).

Solomon Green