Claim: Bird Numbers in the Mojave Crashing Because of Global Warming

Ivanpah Solar Concentrator, Mojave Desert

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

A new study claims that bird numbers are plummeting in the Mojave Desert region because of climate change. This appears to be occurring despite efforts by local authorities in the region to reduce CO2 emissions by filling the desert with wind turbines and solar concentrators.

Study: Climate change possible cause of bird species decline

Aug. 19, 2018

The study shows almost a third of species are less common and widespread now than they once were throughout the region.

The study’s authors, Steven Beissinger and Kelly Iknayan, point to less hospitable conditions in the Mojave Desert as the probable cause.

“California deserts have already experienced quite a bit of drying and warming because of climate change, and this might be enough to push birds over the edge,” said Iknayan, who conducted the research for her doctoral thesis at UC Berkeley. “It seems like we are losing part of the desert ecosystem.”

The Mojave Desert is now nearly half empty of birds,” said Beissinger, a UC Berkeley professor of environmental science, policy and management. “This appears to be a new baseline, and we don’t know if it’s stable or if it will continue to decline.”

“Studies elsewhere have found that climate change typically makes places unfavorable for some birds but opens the door for others to come in,” Iknayan said. “In the desert, we are not seeing increases in any of our species except for the common raven. There are a lack of climate change winners in the system.”

Read more: https://www.sfchronicle.com/science/article/Study-Climate-change-possible-cause-of-bird-13167195.php

The abstract of the study;

Collapse of a desert bird community over the past century driven by climate change

Kelly J. Iknayan and Steven R. Beissinger
PNAS August 6, 2018

Climate change has caused deserts, already defined by climatic extremes, to warm and dry more rapidly than other ecoregions in the contiguous United States over the last 50 years. Desert birds persist near the edge of their physiological limits, and climate change could cause lethal dehydration and hyperthermia, leading to decline or extirpation of some species. We evaluated how desert birds have responded to climate and habitat change by resurveying historic sites throughout the Mojave Desert that were originally surveyed for avian diversity during the early 20th century by Joseph Grinnell and colleagues. We found strong evidence of an avian community in collapse. Sites lost on average 43% of their species, and occupancy probability declined significantly for 39 of 135 breeding birds. The common raven was the only native species to substantially increase across survey sites. Climate change, particularly decline in precipitation, was the most important driver of site-level persistence, while habitat change had a secondary influence. Habitat preference and diet were the two most important species traits associated with occupancy change. The presence of surface water reduced the loss of site-level richness, creating refugia. The collapse of the avian community over the past century may indicate a larger imbalance in the Mojave and provide an early warning of future ecosystem disintegration, given climate models unanimously predict an increasingly dry and hot future.

Read more: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/07/31/1805123115

Interesting that a highly intelligent, opportunistic scavenger species like the common raven is doing well, in a region littered with renewable power installations.

Update (EW): Added the Bird vs Wind Turbine video

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601 thoughts on “Claim: Bird Numbers in the Mojave Crashing Because of Global Warming

  1. I was going to ask, isn’t that where they built that huge solar array plant, answered before asked. So, another question. Can we now sue these idiots and force them to pay to rip all that crap out? I know, just a dream.

      • There is a problem with the study zone map mentioned in your link. The study cited that the Mojave Desert was the area studied at numerous points in the article yet the map you’ve linked to doesn’t indicate any Mojave Desert areas within any of the boundaries. The closest is Joshua Tree National Park to the south and Death Valley to the north but the area of the Mojave Desert isn’t highlighted

        • The Grinnell link isn’t the area covered by this study but is a different study by the same department. Since the study was designed to revisit the sites studied in the early 20th century they were limited to those sites:
          “The majority of sites (58 of 61) were on federal lands managed by the NPS, US Bureau of Land Management (BLM), US Forest Service (USFS), and US Fish and Wildlife Service (SI Appendix, Fig. S1). Only one site experienced development from the historic time period; resurvey of this site occurred <1 km away in habitat matching historic descriptions."

      • And yet maintenance staff at these facilities spend a good portion of their time cleaning up dead birds so they do not interfere with facility operations, not to mention all the dead birds in the immediate vicinity of windmills. This even happens in PA where I live, birds getting whacked by windmill blades.

        As for the tiny area this study was done in, why so small? They have all kinds of tax dollars to waste and total freedom of movement throughout the region. So why focus on such a small area? Seems a bit suspicious, like the “study” that shows a decline of songbirds, and their “study” areas are in the center of major metropolitan parks, not out in the world where birds actually live. I am highly suspicious of studies done in very limited areas which then proclaim trends over a vast region of a continent. Sound like more politically motivated “facts” to drive more tax dollar supplied funding.

      • 1. Ravens eat eggs and other birds.
        2. When ravens increase other birds decrease.
        3. Ravens are not a desert species.

        What the researchers have found is that ravens are moving in as the Mojave is greening and displacing the desert species.

        • “researchers have found is that ravens are moving in as the Mojave is greening and displacing the desert species”

          So nothing to do with wind turbines?

          • Ravens and crows prey on songbirds. Anywhere you see the raven and crow populations increasing you are very likely to see songbird populations decreasing.

            Humans brought garbage to the Mojave long before the raven population exploded. One could just as well argue that the raven population exploded AFTER laws were passed against littering.

            In reality, people used to shoot nuisance birds such as ravens that scavenged garbage, and thereby protected the songbirds from predation. So it could just as easily be said that regulations are killing the songbirds.

          • “the highly intelligent raven.”
            ======
            You don’t even need to kill all the crows and ravens to have them avoid garbage dumps. You only need make an example of a few and the rest will learn. Sort of the same way we convince people not to murder each other.

            The problem is that these birds have learned that they have nothing to fear from humans and so they have become a nuisance by scavenging garbage as a food source and thereby increasing numbers well beyond what nature would otherwise provide.

          • They all moved to My Neighborhood. Our Songbird nesting sites are being inhabited for the third time this year so will be the Third Hatching in September

        • Ravens is a desert species. It is an any-habitat-anywhere-from-the-high-arctic-to-the tropics species.
          I once found a nest at Badwater in Death Valley. It doesn’t get much desertier than that.

      • 1) Birds are attracted to the solar grid because on the horizon it looks like a lake.
        2) Wind turbines are placed in breezeways that are also favorite corridors for birds.

      • Believe it or not, birds are highly mobile and cover a large area. And that link doesn’t appear to have anything to do with this dissertation.

      • Sorry RyanS it doesn’t require a huge increase in directed mortality to impact an animal population. Once a bird reaches maturity they have a high probability of living a normal life unless directed mortality increases. Example, we know we don’t have to fish the entire ocean to collapse marine fish species. Wind turbines, solar arrays and solar concentrators (heck even guided wire towers) all have “take permits” meaning they are allowed to kill a lot of birds. Take permits would not be issued if these devices were killing only a handful per year.

      • UK Ecologist: ‘Wind Farms Driving Birds, Bats to Extinction’
        https://www.kcet.org/redefine/uk-ecologist-wind-farms-driving-birds-bats-to-extinction

        “Between 6-18 million birds and bats are killed by Spanish wind farms each year Hambler says, including 400 griffon vultures per year just at Navarro. German wind turbines kill at least 200,000 bats per year, depressing populations up to 2,000 miles away.”

        I don’t know if that solar array is killing many birds but if it is, it is conceivable that it could be depressing numbers far away like the article above says regarding bats.

        Bigger question is, why we are building these almost useless wind turbines. They are a blight on the environment, are noisy for those who live near them, and according to James Hansen, are only good (wind and solar) for a few percent of total energy production.

      • They might not be relevant this study or to this discussion, but those are *very* interesting photograph pairs. One can’t help noticing how much thicker is the growth in the more recent photographs.

    • They should at least curb the marketing and political myths. One bird in traditional environmentalism colors “green” solutions gray. And that’s just during operation, excluding recovery, production, and reclamation phases.

    • You forgot the O’Bummer admin. gave the industry a 30 year exemption to their Wind Power Cronies including GE so they could slaughter all these creatures with impunity. Oh did I forgot all these gobmint contracts and kickbacks…just sayin.

    • Only the ones that aren’t completely vaporized or chopped to bits, as then they have to account for their carcasses. Otherwise, they see nothing and no problem.

    • Take away the birds and we may become overrun with rodents and insects. Has climate change also reduced those populations as well, or are those population growing?
      I wonder if coyotes are becoming accustomed to fried chicken?

      • rocketscientist

        Don’t you know that vermin are ONLY affected by climate change by allowing their numbers to multiply.

        Doubtless that includes cattle the greens so despise.

      • “Has climate change also reduced those populations as well

        No, but it has apparently increased grammatical redundancy. 🙂

        • But we can really, truly say that those populations are undoubtedly and indubitably reduced in addition to–and over and above–the numbers given, cited, and . . . well, that’s enough, sufficient, and I’m out of energy for that. It was fun, though.

      • Blaming reduction in bird population on climate change is a conjecture, especially in view of the lack of any significant climate change in the last 20 years. However, there’s plenty of empirical, objective evidence of decimation of bird and insect populations by wind and solar projects in the Mojave Desert of California, so the hypothesis that those projects are the cause of fewer birds has actual observational evidence of a direct connection, making it a more likely explanation.

        Check out the article here on WUWT on 8/1/2016: Google “Daily Caller, Obama-backed solar project incinerated…” Also, the Daily Caller on 6/21/2017 reported that the Interior secretary has called solar project a “sphere of death” for birds. “Is that the future of having these three or four eighty foot towers with reflector cells the size of garage doors where it makes this cone — this sphere of death — so as birds go through it they get zapped,” Zinke said.
        Auditors estimated the Ivanpah plant killed 6,185 birds in 2015, including about 1,145 birds that were incinerated by the the intense heat coming off its many mirrored heliostat panels.
        “And, they invent new language for it. It’s called a streamer. A streamer,” Zinke said of the incinerated birds. “And, then what happens is the bird gets zapped and of course bugs become a part of it and then it draws more birds.”

  2. What did the climate in the Mojave actually do over that period? There has been so much “adjustment” of temperature records is should be difficult to tell.

  3. Those Ravens are a pretty smart bird and have learned quickly to give those Greenies bird-chomping wind turbines and solar-power frying units a very wide berth. They can also easily pick up chopped up bits from under the wind-turbines and fried chicken at the solar-power units.

    • hence why they have grown in numbers , I wonder if they look at how these numbers had grown or did they develop a blind spot ‘climate change’ caused of course?

      • “hence why they have grown in numbers”

        Yeah, that’s scientific. Oops, sorry, I was wrong, you just pulled that straight out of your butt.

        • Increased availability of food means increased numbers. But hey! Don’t accept reality, it is still a free country.

          • Yeah, more food means more numbers! So it’s a simple as that. It must be more ravens because of the solar and wind farms. Case closed, so you can assert that with confidence…. Scientifically solid.

            Really? Do I have to explain how weak that is?

        • Philip is yet another example of an alarmist growing ever more bitter as his favorite religion continues to fall apart.

          • “What have you ever said that isn’t?”

            Cop out.

            “This time, not much, other times, lots.”

            Well, go on then. Quote me.

          • Ah, now Phil is gonna pout. We should be ashamed of our,,,,,,,,,Naw! Heading out, got reservations at Van Rensselaer’s at 18:00, eat some excellent seafood and drink some Beach Blond draft. Later, y’all.

          • seriously, copy & paste a cogent quote (that is lacking in exaggeration or willful ignorance).

            simple questions don’t count. simple statements (“oooh burn”) don’t count.

          • What have you said that isn’t alarmist? Here, let me ‘splain it to you, Lucy. Humans are not causing the climate to change, humans can do NOTHING to stop the climate from changing.(wish I could type that in a Cuban accent) You, like the vast majority of humans(including me), are insignificant. Only a tiny percentage of humans have any effect on the race at large, and a large part of that percentage have a negative effect on the human race. Ponder upon that for awhile. You are just not that important in the grand scheme of things. Neither are the vast majority of other people. Get over yourself.

          • 2hotel9 said:

            “Here, let me ‘splain it to you,”

            And now we get to the heart of the issue. You declare that humans are insignificant on a scale you can’t quantify, and so therefore saying that anything important is caused by us is alarmist.

            Scienceness. Like truthinesss, but… well, no, it makes just as much sense.

      • If one has ever watched carrion crows and other corvids, they might note that, unlike kites most birds of prey, they often descend to earth some distance from the carrion and walk to their meal. Perhaps ornithogusts might be able to explain the reason

        • AND ….. they are pretty dang good at dodging oncoming cars. I rarely see a dead Crow on the side of the road …. I would guess they are also pretty good at dodging windmills.

        • Probably as a precaution for making sure there are no predators hidden from above by cover.

        • No, but they do know how to manipulate a string to obtain the food tied to its end. A classic experiment that tested crows ability to access food, found that crows were able to obtain food that was suspended on a string tied to a horizontal bar (tree branch). They learned to reach below the perch and grasp the string with their beaks. They would then pull up the string and step on the portion which draped over the branch. By subsequent reaching, lifting and grasping the desired food was hoisted to the perch.
          Damn clever birds!

  4. Another study where loose associations are elevated to correlations and thence to causation.

    All through researcher belief and assumptions.

    It’s a form of confirmation bias.
    Jokers, fakirs and scam artists masquerading as researchers.

        • Davis – except there aren’t any wind turbine farms located in the areas surveyed. There are 2 solar concentrator power plants and a few solar sites, totaling .07% of the total area of the Mojave.

          • That question was answered: Many were killed by the greatly increased number of windmills, killed by the solar collectors added the past few years, and others lost due to their PREY being killed by the solar collector disruption (ground and heat and solar glare and direct deaths and range land/forage area destruction by the collectors, the roads and the new power lines added over previous empty wilderness.

          • Are you really this dense? Birds move from area to area using the prevailing winds. The wind farms are placed where the prevailing winds are strongest. Therefore the wind farms are placed in exactly the areas the birds will travel through to get from A to B.

            Think of it this way: If the roosting area was in Brisbane and the feeding area was in northern NSW, what happens if we put a wind farm at Tweed Heads? Now do you get it?

          • Speaking of dense, you realise the prevailing wind only blows in one direction, so half the time the poor little buggers have a headwind too.
            No, the bird-chopper meme is fake news. It seems they only harm English speaking birds. Find some actual evidence for it or stop believing it.

          • Ryan, do you know enough math to know what per turbine means? Are you actually dense enough to believe that there is only one wind turbine out there?

          • RyanS

            3 birds in 2 years? I’ll go through that in 2 months

            Times how many hundreds of thousands of Turbines?
            FYI the .5 is 1 Raptor for every 2 turbines

          • Bryan said: “Times how many hundreds of thousands of Turbines?
            FYI the .5 is 1 Raptor for every 2 turbines.”

            Show us proof that there are 100s of thousands of turbines in the Mojave.

          • Times how many Hundreds of Thousands of Bird Choppers both Inside AND OUTSIDE (global current est 350,000-400,000) the Mojave Basin Tehachapi has over 4000

          • Bryan A, Techachapi Pass is 100 miles away from the areas surveyed. it is nowhere near the areas surveyed, and there are no wind farms in the area surveyed.

          • The 1000 new turbines get TWO permits to kill eagles. How many dead eagles does that make? How many are illegally killed and they should be fined for?

          • Bryan A, your numbers are much lower than what USFWS estimate which is 6 to 8 per turbine per year.

          • Speaking of dense, Ryan is eager to show his.
            Prevailing winds, like all winds, blow only one direction AT A TIME.
            At different times of day and different times of year, prevailing winds can and do change direction.
            There are also times when the winds aren’t blowing at all.

          • Birds would use alternate route for return trip. They are smart enough to know not to fight Nature.

            But, they aren’t so savvy about Man-made contraptions. They would make repeated trips through the wind farm, until they get chopped.

            SR

          • RyanS, This is from the USFWS site on the issue. “The most comprehensive and statistically sound estimates show that bird deaths from turbine collisions are between 140,000 and 500,000 birds per year. As wind energy capacity increases under the DOE’s mandate (a six-fold increase from current levels), statistical models predict that mean bird deaths resulting in collisions with turbines could reach 1.4 million birds/year.”

            Note: you should love the 1.4 million number since it is derived from a model. If one uses the 140,000 and the 500,000 range and multiply that times the six-fold increase then we are talking about a whole lot more birds dying than 1.4 million. Of course the model could be assuming lower bird densities from increased directed mortality.

            Thing is that many of the raptors are not abundant in the first place. We spent tens of millions on raptor conservation since 1969. Now we are going to kill them at a higher rate for what?

          • You start where you can make a difference.
            There is nothing we can do about the natural cycle of drought in the southwest.
            Turbines and solar arrays have no value, get rid of them.

          • Applying the “precautionary principle”, the solar collectors and turbines which are known to harm birds should all be dismantled, just in case they are applying pressure on already endangered populations.

          • It seems they are not Eric. Many of the 43% of species are small, sedentry, ground-dwelling birds unaffected by wind or solar installations.

          • The point is that there is not enough information to put down the alleged bird population decreases to any cause. It could be due to many different things, or it might be a difference in how populations have been measured.

          • “The point is that there is not enough information to put down the alleged bird population decreases to any cause. It could be due to many different things, or it might be a difference in how populations have been measured.”

            Specifically what additional information is required?

          • “Chris, that’s why you do studies.”

            Vague, hand-waving generalities – MarkW’s specialty. No actual details that might be criticized, just fluff.

          • Chris, USFWS Take Permits require the holders to do dead bird counts by species. How well those counts are actually done is up to USFWS in the area where to turbines and array are located. I was involved in one guided wire extremely tall transmission tower. We demanded at least daily counts because scavengers would pick up carcasses if left longer. USFWS, if I remember correctly, only required weekly counts. I haven’t checked the wording for the Take Permit for wind turbines. My guess is it might require a FOI request to find out.

          • That is the best you got? Birds in desert areas don’t have the option to be sedentary, they got to continuously search for food and evade predators, can’t just sit on the couch and order pizza like you.

          • lol. You didn’t google it did you?
            Sedentary in bird parlance doesn’t mean sitting on the lounge it means non-migratory.

          • Sitting on the moldy couch in your Mom’s basement is the very definition of sedentary, and birds in any desert are not sedentary, they may only migrate short distances from season to season, they do not remain in a single, narrowly defined area. Please tell me you are not this (SNIPPED) MOD

          • OK Ryan, so your argument is now that since wind turbines don’t kill all of the endangered species, they aren’t a problem for any of them?

          • “Applying the “precautionary principle”, the solar collectors and turbines which are known to harm birds should all be dismantled, just in case they are applying pressure on already endangered populations.”

            So if bird populations decline near coal mines, Eric, you’d be in favor of those coal mines being shut down? Same for coal-fired power plants?

          • Bird populations increase in the areas of coal mines. I live near several and they are just polluted with birds of all types. Funny how that works.

          • That is all it takes, sweety. No prove me wrong. Only takes one sentence! That is all you got, so vomit it forth.

          • You’re wrong, 2hotel. See, I can play the same stupid proof by assertion game you do. Wow, this is so much easier than researching a topic and articulating a position.

          • “funny thing is that claim has indeed by made”

            Wow, you can’t even proofread a single sentence, and make corrections before hitting post.

          • RACook said: “That question was answered: Many were killed by the greatly increased number of windmills…”

            Which specific Mojave desert-based wind turbines are you referring to?

          • 2hotel9 – Moron, there aren’t any wind farms in the areas surveyed. Zero. You’re too lazy to check. Pathetic.

          • Ryan has legitimate questions and concerns. My general answer would be that most likely bird declines are due to climate change (or at least decreased precipitation) but climate change isn’t due to CO2. In like manner the California fires might be exacerbated by “climate change” but it’s really a leap of faith to attribute this change to CO2.

            So why do 97% of scientists say that CO2 causes climate change, if indeed 97% do (it seems to me that 97% of 40% of respondents would equal something closer to 39%!) Because this is the theory, but curiously this theory has no experimental proof whatsoever, and in fact observational data tells us that CO2 isn’t affecting the climate as predicted.

            What data? Well for example balloon data and satellite data that tells us that the troposphere isn’t warming nearly as much as predicted, and that the tropospheric “hotspot” hasn’t been found. Now “skepticalscience,” that blog of misinformation, will tell us that “other” satellite data has been left out but so far as I know this is blatantly false, and if Carl Mears, who processes satellite data and is an alarmist, agrees with Christy, who processes different satellite data and is a skeptic, both agree that satellite data doesn’t match predictions, then I think we can say that it doesn’t.

            But skepticalsceince, that blog of misinformation, will insist that we don’t live up at 300 hPa in the troposphere, where the hotspot should be. Skepticalscience seems not to understand that CO2 should be affecting the bulk atmosphere, as predicted all along and as stated clearly by the IPCC; in fact how it affects the troposphere at 300 hPa would’ve been proof of CO2’s action, and if this hotspot had been found then I’d be a believer.

            But now we quietly dispense with the hotspot altogether, even though that was supposed to be the scientific prediction waiting to confirm the theory (but who gives a damn about confirmation? It’s all about theory!) Now we say, gently or even implicitly, that it doesn’t matter if the hotspot is found or not, CO2 raises the emissions height and we count down from there, using the lapse rate, to get surface temperature. Seriously? So emissions height now determines surface pressure too? The wonders of CO2! Conveniently no one can confirm that the emissions height has been raised, and I say it wouldn’t make any difference anyhow.

            Climate science is unconfirmed theory masquerading as rigorous science. It misappropriates causes for its proof because it has no real scientific proof. Hence, birds disappearing because of climate change. It’s about defending your theory at all costs. Rigorous science doesn’t conflate causation and is very careful not to do so.

          • Rigorous science doesn’t conflate causation and is very careful not to do so.

            Hang on Don. The researchers found the climate there has changed: it’s become warmer and dryer. They think that offers the best explanation as to why so many species have disappeared. They made no satements about AGW. So how are they guilty of misappropriating a cause or conflating anything?

            Then along comes Mr Worrel (the bird-lover) and tries to sex this up as some kind of dangerous machinery story, so dangerous its killed all the birds. Zero evidence, but Mr Worrel has um well with careless abandon, conflated causation and misappropriated a cause – rigourous science? More like a masquerade.

          • If you look a little closer the suggestion is warmer didn’t bother the birds, though drier was an issue.

            I’m not suggesting there are not other stressors, what I’m saying is getting rid of a bunch of bird killers in a distressed population is a no brainer if you want to save the birds.

          • “look a little closer the suggestion is warmer didn’t bother the birds”
            Where does it suggest that?

          • Ryan: “Climate change influenced the collapse of the Mojave bird community primarily through precipitation change rather than temperature change. Long-term warming was not strongly related to avian decline, but there was an influence of maximum temperature in the year previous to resurveys (Table 1). Contrary to our expectations, however, community persistence was positively related to the maximum temperature in the year before resurveys, which could occur for several reasons.”

          • “Bird killers” didn’t seem to bother them either. Not even a suggestion. But afterall would local field experts know about these things?

          • The fact warmer produces more plant growth, which produces more seeds, which feeds more birds, which produces more birds. Ya know, pinhead, that whole “cycle of life” thingy?

          • Duh, 2 hotel, you’re ignoring the role that water plays. Kind of important in a place that only receives 5 inches per year. The paper concluded that declining rainfall was the main factor, not warmer temperatures. You’d know that if you bothered to read the paper.

          • “Rigorous science doesn’t conflate causation and is very careful not to do so.”

            Do rigorous scientists expect climate to remain static?

          • Ryan, you’re basically right but look at what’s happening: the implicit assumption is that climate change is due to CO2. Whenever anyone says “climate change” they are implicitly, not explicitly, referring to the theory of CO2 warming. I’m not imagining this or making it up, it’s all over the place. It’s a sloppy way of supporting the theory of CO2 warming: climate change, therefore the theory of CO2 warming is correct. Climate change is not in itself evidence of CO2 warming. On the other hand if the theory makes specific, measurable predictions regarding atmospheric behavior and those predictions come to pass, then that would indeed be evidence. But the opposite of this has happened: the predicted behavior of the troposphere, where the effects would be most noticeable, haven’t come to pass. The public doesn’t understand this, and apparently 97% of scientists are too blinded by adherence to theory to pay attention to fact.

            I believe in climate change. I do not believe in CO2–induced climate change to any degree that matters.

            Climate scientists seem curiously allergic to specific experiments and prefer to model and to make broad assumptions based on … on “climate change”, which must be caused by climate change, and here we go let’s slip it in: which must be cause by CO2 because climate change proves climate change! If you’re dazzled by the logic, I am too.

            “Climate change” these days implicitly means the theory of CO2 warming, which is a theory is search of solid experimental confirmation that doesn’t exist. Hence the need to say things like: the birds are disappearing because of CO2 warming (“climate change”). There! Proof. Satisfied? 97% of scientists are. I would say that 97% of scientists don’t understand rigorous proof and prefer assumption and speculation– and blind allegiance to a theory– over fact.

          • maybe a bit of outrage over the unfairness of stopping a dam for a snail darter or suing petroleum industry for killing an eagle while giving a free pass to their posture child for doing worse.
            it’s not about the birds, per se. i mean- you might laugh and say nuryev thinks he’s a duck, but it’s really not what this game is about.

            the underlying concern, here, is the declining population of hosts – and this has the prevailing parasites most anxious.
            the birds are a metaphor for their funding and climate change is a metaphor for ppl figuring out the scam and no longer attending the doomsday rallies or filling that collection dish.

            or, maybe it’s all about you- to give you a full life. a spritz of meaning.
            magical how everything seems to have a reason, eh? i think starbucks serves a latte made of anthropomorphism + teleology called a ‘what’s the point – a low- fat decaf alternative to reality.

          • Don

            Great post.

            “My general answer would be that most likely bird declines are due to climate change (or at least decreased precipitation) but climate change isn’t due to CO2. In like manner the California fires might be exacerbated by “climate change” but it’s really a leap of faith to attribute this change to CO2.

            Shouldn’t that be man made climate change and man made CO2? As the whole climate change subject revolves around these points.

            In which case, that’s some leap of faith considering man made CO2 makes up ~0.00012% of the planet’s atmosphere. Being that ~25% of man’s CO2 emissions are consumed by vegetation, that’s ~0.0009% left to cause extreme weather, kill birds and bats, and similarly cause ‘mass’ hysteria around the world, which it isn’t http://data.myworld2015.org/

          • HotScot, thank you, and my whole point is that we’re conflating the phrase “climate change” with the phrase “CO2-caused climate change,” or as you put it “man-made climate change.” That makes it so much easier to confuse natural climate variation with the theory of CO2 warming. I think that’s the whole point of referring to the theory of AGW as “climate change.” If you have no evidence that proves your theory and if you want your theory to live, the next best thing is to make people believe that evidence is everywhere– in climate change!

          • Don

            The claim the alarmists make is that ‘Climate Change’ has always been the predominant feature they have pursued, by citing the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on ‘Climate Change’).

            The fact is that the brand name for Climate change was Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) or, for the MSM, simply Global Warming.

            Global Warming failed as a brand, the man on the street was sceptical of it after 40 years as nothing has perceptibly changed other than marginally less snow in winters (a good thing) and better summers in the Northern Hemisphere (we are plagued by lousy summer weather in the UK so that didn’t wash) so the concept of Climate Change was brought to bear as the harbinger of doom with every slight change in any weather pattern.

            Now snow in the winter is presented as evidence of AGW, despite there being no empirical evidence whatsoever that CO2 has any effect on the temperature of the planet whatsoever.

          • “Global Warming failed as a brand…so the concept of Climate Change was brought to bear”

            Any evidence for that?

          • “I’m sorry sir, there was an accident on the highway and they are dead.”
            “But, but, they don’t live on the highway” — derp

          • I don’t think he has legitimate concerns – I frankly don’t think he gives a crap about birds, so much as another prop for a talking point.

          • Joel Snider

            And the latest drought, fire, hurricane, tornado, flood?

            They are all legitimate concerns despite them violating no previous ‘records’?

          • I don’t think HE has legitimate concerns. You fight a fire when and where it happens (unless you’re Governor Kate Brown) – you don’t reasonably use it as a legitimate reason for C02 regulation.

      • the spread of non-native species has a big effect on native wildlife and is probably more the reason of bird loss-

        “Invasive Species”

        “The spread of invasive exotic plants and animals has become an urgent environmental threat throughout California, second only to habitat loss as the cause of species endangerment”

        add on-

        “Invasive species are not the only threat to native plants of the California deserts. Other threats include suburban expansion, power generation, military training, off-highway vehicles, grazing, mining, and agriculture—the latter due to both land conversion and the lowering of the water table (Barbour et al., 1991)”

        http://mojavedesert.net/plants/vegetation/16.html

        • cont… “While many non-native plants are not harmful, the noxious weeds crowd out native plants, compete with natives for limited resources, lower productivity for agriculture and grazing, and alter fire regimes. The worst culprits in our desert ecosystems are tumbleweed or Russian thistle (Salsola tragus), cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), Saharan mustard (Brassica tournefortii), giant reed (Arundo donax), and tamarisk or saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima).

          The latter two weeds have overtaken riparian zones along river channels, irrigation canals, and other wetland habitats, eliminating native species by outcompeting them for water, increasing soil salinity, and decreasing habitat values”

      • RyanS

        Perhaps it’s events not associated with climate change. A bit like the Bee scare. Nothing to do with climate change, just bad husbandry.

          • RyanS

            Fair comment, but that’s an entirely natural process, nothing to do with mankind, isn’t it?

            Mankind’s CO2 contribution to the atmosphere is ~0.0012%. If vegetation use is included, that’s around 0.0009%.

          • Are talking about the 30+gT contribution thats a caused a 40% increase in concentration? That 0.0012%? That has everything to do with mankind.

          • RyanS

            You can terrify the gullible by stating gT for the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere all you want. The fact remains, man’s total contribution to atmospheric gases is ~0.0012%.

            The increase since the industrial revolution also includes natural causes which far outstrip man’s influence. Kindly don’t misrepresent the distinction between the two.

          • ” The fact remains, man’s total contribution to atmospheric gases is ~0.0012%.”

            Sure, but what have nitrogen and oxygen got to do with it?

            “The increase since the industrial revolution also includes natural causes which far outstrip man’s influence”

            The increase in what? CO2? No is doesn’t. There is a 40% increase and we’ve burnt a proportionate amount of fossil fuel. In fact we’ve burnt more than that but over the decades the sink (the ocean) has been made to take more through higher vapour pressure. So I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

          • RyanS

            “Sure, but what have nitrogen and oxygen got to do with it?”

            Well, as John Tyndall concluded that “water vapour is the strongest absorber of radiant heat in the atmosphere and is the principal gas controlling air temperature. Absorption by the other gases is not negligible but relatively small.” I don’t think CO2 has much to do with it either. Or has CO2 miraculously altered it’s state since Tyndall?

            The calculations on what mankind has burned is at best an approximation. The difference between the two has never been empirically demonstrated, neither has CO2 been empirically demonstrated to raise the planets temperature.

            If it’s such a racing certainty, wouldn’t it to be reasonable to expect numerous* empirical studies over the past 40 years to have shown it beyond reasonable doubt?

            Your position is that despite a complete lack of empirical evidence, CO2 causes the planet to warm.

            All I’m saying is, demonstrate it empirically. Do that and I’m a believer.

            *There is one I’m aware of that momentarily seemed credible until it was discredited. Never to be referred to again by alarmists.

          • Tiny amounts sure add up over 150 years. That extra 38GT is done just hangin’ there. An increase rate probably not seen since the PETM.

          • ‘Tiny amounts sure add up over 150 years.’

            Now THERE is progressive logic at work. We’re always a small percentage… but it ‘adds up’. So we are now looking at the classic bastardization of the butterfly effect – we can’t touch anything lest small changes ‘add up’.
            Control freakiness on a level that simply can’t be catered to.
            You let a progressive talk long enough they will demonstrate the futility inherent in their entire belief system.

            Jesus, do any of the majority sources ‘add up’?

          • ferd

            My favourite charts!……all on a clunky old website with circular binding.

            Brilliant. Love that you consider the same a reasonable approximation.

          • RyanS

            Mate, sorry, and I don’t mean to be rude, but it is disillusion to imagine that any accurate record of fossil fuel burning was possibly retained until about 50 years or so ago, if that.

            Even you add the proviso “by the look of this” indicating you don’t trust it.

          • Sheri

            His 38Gt equals 0.0012% of all atmospheric gases. All bumping together firing out energy in all directions (I’m yet to have explained to me why all the energy transferred from CO2 to the earth’s surface isn’t distributed equally around the circumference of a CO2 molecule and not just shot directly at the planets surface) yet we are assured the 0.0012% of the earth’s atmosphere controls everything climate.

            Sorry, the Gt propaganda just doesn’t do it for me.

          • Nah, it’s bird choppers and burners. Eric told me so. That’s why there are more ravens.

          • “Philip Schaeffer

            Gosh, you’re so funny. You should heckle for a living.”

            That’s not nice. I’m deeply wounded.

          • Philip Schaeffer

            That’s a shame, I was being complimentary. See how easy it is to get things wrong.

          • “Mankind’s CO2 contribution to the atmosphere is ~0.0012%. If vegetation use is included, that’s around 0.0009%.”

            Yeah, decimal places tell you how important something is. That’s why CO2 induced greening isn’t real…….

          • The point is that the number of decimal places doesn’t tell you how important something is.

            The claim was that the entire change in the climate is natural, and the support given was the “small” percentage of CO2 production due to human beings relative to size of the whole atmosphere.

          • Philip, you’ll have to be more direct with Hot Scot, he doesn’t seem to get it. Climate skeptics can’t in one breath sat that CO2 is a tiny, insignificant trace gas that couldn’t possible affect climate, than in the next breath say that that same tiny trace gas is responsible for global greening.

            I take that back – skeptics CAN sat that, but it makes them hypocrites.

          • Chris & Philip – you’re being dense. Two mechanisms, two percentages and two effect sizes.
            1. life giving CO2: 30% increase with great greening effect
            2. warming “greenhouse” gasses: tiny percentage of increase with negligible climate effect

          • Chris

            Yet another drive by comment from you with no concept of observations.

            CO2 has never been empirically proven to warm the planet. Doh!

            CO2 has been empirically proven to green the planet. Double Doh!

            What is it about the simplicity of climate change that you don’t get?

            Either CO2 is the culprit, or it isn’t. So provide the empirical evidence that demonstrates CO2 warms the planet and we can all go home.

          • Philip Schaeffer

            “The point is that the number of decimal places doesn’t tell you how important something is.”

            NO………The point is that CO2 has never been demonstrably responsible to cause anything but good.

            Why is that such a difficult concept for you to digest?

          • Philip Schaeffer

            “The point is that the number of decimal places doesn’t tell you how important something is.”

            Nor does quoting it in Gigatons, that’s just a scare tactic for the gullible public who can’t conceive what a ton (tonne) is, never mind a Gigaton.

          • If you believe that the only thing that has changed out there is the climate, you are even more blind than your earlier posts indicated.

          • Which is always changing, always had, always will. Birds survived the KT extinction, so I think they’ll be fine. And the ones that don’t – while that’s natural selection at work, isn’t it?

      • A recent Iowa State University study documented pheasants and lesser prairie chickens will avoid industrial wind parks. Permanently.

      • Various possibilities.
        1) Bird shredders and cookers.
        2) Human intervention
        3) Introduced speciest.

        Unlike you alarmists, we consider all possibilities and don’t just assume that if something has changed, CO2 must be the culprit.

        • Here’s how MarkW does science relating to climate change. “We just don’t know, too many variables. The best thing to do is shrug your shoulders and give up.”

          Most folks like to be thought of as “can do”, Mark proudly flies the flag of “can’t do.”

          • ‘Most folks’ – what a giant ego – and typical group think. Seems to me your philosophy is ‘can’t do’ – as in ‘can’t do anything’ – might step on a butterfly and it’ll add up to catastrophic change.
            No, we just don’t believe in walking on eggshells with some control-freak manifesto about saving the planet.
            There’s also reality to consider – and regulation of the climate is impossible, yet that is the fundamental tenant alarmists are selling.

          • Joel said “There’s also reality to consider – and regulation of the climate is impossible, yet that is the fundamental tenant alarmists are selling.”

            False. What’s being “sold” is that we need to reduce CO2 emissions to reduce the adverse consequences of rising CO2.

          • Whoa there sport, because I disagree with you proves that I “can’t do”?

            It really is fascinating how Chris gets his panties in a wad whenever someone dares to disagree with him.
            As to links, the vast majority of Chris’s posts don’t have links either.

    • So. The ONE animal on the planet with the greatest migratory range and mobility … chooses to remain in the desert and DIE?! Did the genius scientists check any neighboring habitats for INCREASED numbers of these bird species? Global warming hysteria requires dull, uncurious, minds willing to be spoon fed nonsense.

    • But you’re using actual data to formulate an argument, use climate change model data instead. And then don’t even use the same sampling methodology as the historic surveys and instead use a sampling method established in 2013 from a paper titled:
      “Cryptic loss of montane avian richness and high community turnover over 100 years.”
      Climate science!

      • I especially like this statistical molestation: ” Observed heterogeneity in species occurrence within sites and among sites was incorporated into modeled detectability, reducing the potential bias of effort.”

  5. Gee, IDK … Incineration by hyper focused solar rays seems as though it could … push the crashing bird populations over the edge. Do we have ANY scientists actually doing science anymore?

  6. Ah, science intersecting with opinion. Always a good laugh. The problem is the supporters of “science” aren’t scientific and get all the attention. Why is that? Conspiracy theory or fact?

  7. I couldn’t find a historical Palmer Drought Index specific to the Mojave Desert, but I did find one (from the gubernment no less) for the western Unites States going back to 1900.

    https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/monitoring-content/sotc/drought/2012/09/Reg120_wet-dry_bar01000912.gif

    Looks to me like there nothing much going on that hasn’t happened before, numerous times. Perhaps someone else can dig up temperature graphs for the same area over the same time period, I’m guessing… same thing. These papers seem all the same. We found a change in something, it must be climate change. No….we don’t have any data to show that the climate actually changed in that area… that’s too much work.

    • Alternative hypothesis, they aren’t smart enough but the money keeps rolling in, so why ask a hard question

    • I see a correllation there. The extreme drought periods appear to be the inverse of the extreme wet periods. … /sarc.

      R

      • You mean it can’t be drier and wetter at the same time.
        Quick, put together a grant proposal on that.

    • Based on that graph, it does seem a bit drier in recent decades, but who knows what it was like 500 years ago, 1000, 2000… looking at only the last hundred years is myopic.

      • They are only interested in the last 100 years, because that is the period that CO2 has been rising.
        Anything that happened prior to that can’t be blamed on man.

  8. That bird might be a California Condor. I thought probably a Turkey Vulture, but it’s size and coloration (as best as can be seen in the video) suggests a Condor. That should cause a major stir in the bird community if true.

    PS: Now I feel it’s a Turkey Vulture. Makes more sense since Condors are so rare, and tend to stay near mountain cliffs. Turkey Vultures are very common in windmill country.

  9. It would appear on the face of it unlikely that wind turbines or solar concentrators are responsible for the decline in bird population. The Mojave desert has an area of 124000 square kilometres. And according to wikipedia there is a single wind farm located in the desert with an area of 12 square kilometres. Plus while there are a number of solar farms there generally use solar panels with one exception the Ivanpah solar concentrator which to be generous might have a bird killing area of 1 square kilometre. Thus the total area where birds might be injured from solar/wind farms is about 1/10000 of the area of the desert. Even assuming that birds fly very long distances to search for food would suggest that only about 1% of the birds would live in areas where they might fly close to a wind turbine or solar farm and thus we might expect that only 1% of the sites would show a decrease in numbers. This is not what is found suggesting that there is a more widespread explanation for the decline.

    • That’s all well and good Percy, but that doesn’t make climate change the culprit. Without data showing that the climate has changed in a way that is abnormal in the historical context, the claim that “well it must be climate change” is even less supportable than “it must be windmills”. There isn’t even data showing bird populations in their historical context either, for all we know that’s natural too.

      If these people want me to believe them, they have to show both climate and bird populations over a lengthy period of time. Going look, there’s less birds in the last few years, it must be climate change is baby talk.

      • David you need to read the paper. They used historical data from 100 years ago and revised the same sites. So they have shown that the birds have declined by 50% over a 100 year period. And again they discuss various factors including land use change, climate change etc and look at what the best explanation is.

        • Percy, There wasn’t any SUVs there 80 years ago. Even if there was enuf CO2 out in the atmosphere (assuming CO2 causes temp increase) by 1950, the temp has gone up only 0.8C in a 100 years. There have been climate changes 10 times that in the past and birds adapted. If a bird cant adapt to a 0.8C increase in 100 years his DNA is fuc***. What in the hell are we worried about? Everything is blamed on climate change. Oh the climate change is caused by CO2 huh! 0.8C in a 100 years huh . How can that small a change affect anything? Sheesh the number of bedwetters and people afraid of their own shadow is driving me to the insane asylum.

        • ..and read the paper, they didn’t revisit the same sites. They surveyed sites that were similar to what was described in the Grinnell survey and in the same area. That’s partly good, doesn’t make sense to resurvey a site that has had a town built on it or a highway punched through it. Partly bad because since they are different sites, you’d have to go into a great deal of detail about adjacent areas to see if they affected the site you’re visiting. Grinnell did his surveys literally by walking through the area. The amount of ground that a man walking through an area can over is a few miles. The amount of ground a bird of prey can cover is much larger. So unless you take each area and show that the radius that would be hunted by a bird of prey is ALSO similar to the survey site, you’ve got nothing.

          • And walking over that type of area with its heat limits you range even more .
            But we see this issue often , the idea that modern approaches have always existed so you can take mesurements from the past and deal with them as if they where taken with current approaches.

      • “There isn’t even data showing bird populations in their historical context either, for all we know that’s natural too.”

        Have you read the study?

        “If these people want me to believe them, they have to show both climate and bird populations over a lengthy period of time.”

        “We assessed how climate change and other stressors have impacted desert bird populations over the past century by resurveying sites throughout the Mojave Desert that were originally surveyed for avian diversity in the early 20th century by Joseph Grinnell and colleagues. About 85% of desert lands in this region are largely undisturbed and ecologically intact…”

        Read the study. http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/07/31/1805123115

        • Skimmed the study.

          1. Grinnel did a few surveys in the early 1900’s, roughly 1910 to 1930. That wasn’t in the paper (how convenient) I had to dig that up elsewhere. The Grinnell resurvey project didn’t start until 2002. We don’t have enough data to understand natural variability of climate even though we’ve had thermometers since the late 1800’s and daily temps from them from all over the world, but you think two manual survey’s (shown without error bars, also convenient) nearly a hundred years apart has any chance at all of capturing natural variability?

          2. The climate change data presented graphically doesn’t actually present climate change metrics over time, it is graphed against a metric called “persistence”. I can’t be bothered to figure out what that is, but it doesn’t demonstrate that the climate has changed outside of natural variability at all.

          • You question their conclusions and that is fair enough, you might be right – natural variability might swing back and all is good. I hope you are right, although I doubt it. One thing is entirely clear: their decline has nothing to do with windmills.

            The Drivers of Collapse.
            There is little evidence that the major drivers of systemic biodiversity loss—disease, pollution, overexploitation, and habitat destruction—are operating in the Mojave. Invasive plants are in the Mojave, but they currently represent a small amount of cover at most of our sites and across the Mojave as a whole (30) (SI Appendix). Instead, climate change, particularly decline in rainfall, was the most important driver of avian community dynamics in the Mojave Desert. Sites that received less precipitation in recent decades compared with early in the 20th century had higher local extinction probabilities (Fig. 2). Most sites became drier (µ = −3.6%; σ = 5.9%), receiving up to 20% less precipitation.

          • Yup, rising temperature so higher evaporation, combined with a 20% drop in rainfall. It’s a wonder only 43% of species were absent.

          • “Yup, rising temperature so higher evaporation, combined with a 20% drop in rainfall. It’s a wonder only 43% of species were absent.”

            Yet no evidence that it’s caused by humans, windmills or otherwise. Climate is never static, things change all by themselves. We’re comparing an incredibly small time frame, nothing meaningful can come of that.

          • “In the original survey there was a large difference in terms of birds observed per unit time between J. Grinnell and T. Storer, with Grinnell having much higher scores than Storer for the same area.”

            What is you explanation, Ryan? For the species reduction between the time of the Grinnell & Storer surveys.

            (My guess is that Storer was a bigger guy, who contributed more CO2 through his breathing, and the temp in the area went up, and the humidity went down, and the birds had to leave. We can dub this the Storer factor.)

    • I suspect the concentrators and turbines create a hole in the habitats in which they are situated, a hole which is continuously filled by new birds.

      A bit like sucking gas out of a balloon – the hole created by the suction is rapidly filled by gas from elsewhere in the balloon.

      So the damage is likely a lot greater than you would think just looking at the geographical area. Birds don’t get any warning that the unoccupied habitat they’ve just discovered is actually deadly, because the threat is not one they have evolved to understand and evade.

      • Eric – “suspect” is such a great word. Lots of science is done by people suspecting their pet theory is correct without bothering to try and prove it.

        I would suggest that birds are not like gas in a balloon. Rather a decline in bird population in one area would mean that birds in neighbouring sites would have more offspring that would migrate to the new areas. There is both a source and a sink of bird populations.

        • Percy, why would a decline in bird population in one area cause an increase in chick survival rates in another area? If the cause of decline in the first area is a decline in a food source, local birds would move to neighboring territories. Even if the neighboring territories did not suffer a decline in food source production, the extra feeders would deplete those food sources. The result would be a lower survival rate for chicks in neighboring areas.

          If the cause of lower population was bird kills, birds from neighboring areas that moved in would suffer the same fate.

          In neither scenario would bird populations in surrounding areas increase.

          SR

          • Steve,
            The number of chicks a pair of birds can raise successfully is a function of
            the available food. Birds probably have a limited foraging area due to the presence of other birds. So if you remove the competition then the remaining birds will have more access to food and so raise more chicks. This is likely to be true for eagles and other birds that return each year to the same nesting site.

            What would happen would be that birds near the wind farms but not in the direct area would raise more chicks which would then try and establish themselves closer to the windmills and would die. This would result in a new steady state – similar to a bath with both the taps running and the plug out.

          • ” Birds probably have a limited foraging area due to the presence of other birds. So if you remove the competition then the remaining birds will have more access to food and so raise more chicks. ”

            Didn’t I address this point? Let me expound on it ’cause you missed it: If the competition was removed by bird choppers, the chopped birds’ territory becomes available to birds in surrounding territories. This results in 2 possibilities:

            1. A mother birds foraging into the vacated territory gets chopped and fails to return to her nestlings in the nearby territory.
            Bird population in nearby territory declines.

            2. Mother bird evades bird choppers and raises brood successfully. As food supply in this territory is unchanged, some fledglings must move into the unoccupied territory with the bird chopping wind farm (where some meet chopper).
            Neighboring territory bird population is unchanged.

            Possibility 2 may make up for possibility 1, but bird population in neighboring territory cannot increase unless food supply in neighboring territory increases.

            SR

        • “Lots of science is done by people suspecting their pet theory is correct”

          The irony, it burns!!!

        • This study places a figure of 9.3 birds per Mw per year for Ivanpah
          https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960148116301422

          Abstract
          Despite the benefits of reduced toxic and carbon emissions and a perpetual energy resource, there is potential for negative environmental impacts resulting from utility-scale solar energy (USSE) development. Although USSE development may represent an avian mortality source, there is little knowledge regarding the magnitude of these impacts in the context of other avian mortality sources. In this study we present a first assessment of avian mortality at USSE facilities through a synthesis of available avian monitoring and mortality information at existing USSE facilities. Using this information, we contextualize USSE avian mortality relative to other forms of avian mortality at 2 spatial scales: a regional scale (confined to southern California) and a national scale. Systematic avian mortality information was available for three USSE facilities in the southern California region. We estimated annual USSE-related avian mortality to be between 16,200 and 59,400 birds in the southern California region, which was extrapolated to between 37,800 and 138,600 birds for all USSE facilities across the United States that are either installed or under construction. We also discuss issues related to avian–solar interactions that should be addressed in future research and monitoring programs

          So with a 392Mw capacity at 9.3 birds per Mw, Ivanpah would represent 3645 annual bird kills over 5 square miles with 3 towers

          • Half of those numbers were “unknown cause”, still large numbers though. I wonder how many miles of roadway take out those sort of numbers?

          • RyanS

            I have probably driven, getting on for, a million miles in the UK and the Continent, on all types of roads. I can count on the fingers of one hand how many birds I have hit.

            Try to hit a pigeon with a car in London………No chance.

          • I’m in a semi-rural area and my unscientific guess is I would probably driving passed 3-5 dead birds per km. I don’t hit many but their feathery little corpses are there.

          • RyanS

            Seriously? 3-5 dead birds a Km? That’s around one every 300M to one every 200M.

            Talk sense man.

            I just drove 300 miles and back on Sunday. I think I might have seen two unidentifiable carcasses on the road.

          • EXPOSURE RATE…
            How many miles of Roadway…
            How many SQ FT of building surface…
            How many windows…
            How many Vehicle Miles Driven…
            How many Ivanpah Facilities (1200 annual bird kills per Heliostat)
            How many Wind Turbines (1.5 Bird kills and 2 Bat kills per turbine)
            EXPOSURE RATE is the key

            How many miles have you driven and how many birds have you struck with a vehicle?

            I personally have driven 14 vehicles in the last 40 years traveling over 1.2m Miles in that time and have struck zero birds.

          • My husband has hit far more deer than birds. I had perfected a technique to take out seagulls with one of my cars, but never could repeat it with any other car.

      • Eric said: “I suspect the concentrators and turbines create a hole in the habitats in which they are situated, a hole which is continuously filled by new birds.”

        Which specific wind turbine sites are you referring to?

          • Chris

            Explanation? Or should I just accept it because you say so.

            Oh gosh! Silly question, it’s Chris, I should just bow down because of his alleged qualifications.

          • HotScot, the explanation is that there aren’t any wind turbines in the areas that were surveyed for this paper. Eric posted a picture of a wind turbine striking a bird. That photo was not from the Mojave.

            Throughout the comments section, folks like Eric, Sheri, Patrick and others have mentioned wind turbines as a likely culprit. The called them bird choppers, etc, and stated that turbines, along with solar, were a more likely cause of bird deaths than climate change.

            Except there aren’t any wind turbine farms located where the bird surveys were done. None. Nobody here bothered to check that, they just asserted it without proof. This is what often passes for rigorous skepticism here on WUWT.

          • “Chris

            Throughout the comments section, folks like Eric, Sheri, Patrick …”

            Hummm, no I didn’t.

          • Chris

            “………….the explanation is that there aren’t any wind turbines in the areas that were surveyed for this paper. Eric posted a picture of a wind turbine striking a bird. That photo was not from the Mojave.”

            I’ll accept that post as credible, I won’t ask for a link as I’m sure you wouldn’t make that statement without having researched it.

            However, assuming there is climate change going on at the moment, which there has been for the earth’s existence in time and space, so no reason to expect it’s not now, birds have been part of that for many millennia. Long before man pitched up to the party.

            In other words, birds are, as I understand it, kind of mini dinosaurs with the gift of flight, well most of them anyway. They are no stranger to rapid climate change.

            Being that no one has demonstrated credibly and empirically that CO2 causes global warming, and these towers are erected to stop something that has never been demonstrated then, by definition, solar arrays and wind turbines are killing animals unnecessarily.

            Climate change hasn’t done it in the past, so why would it do it now?

          • At this point I could make a snarky comment about how Chis is a “can’t do” type of guy. But I’m not a hypocrite.

    • Per the abstract, they compared bird populations now to surveys conducted in the early 20th century. i.e. two data points ~100 years apart. How many factors like land use, development, water management projects, etc. during this period might have affected bird habitat and numbers? How can a study like this reach a conclusion that climate change is even a factor?

      • Per the study:
        “About 85% of desert lands in this region are largely undisturbed and ecologically intact…”

        • Populations vary naturally due to all manner of cycles quite apart from the area being disturbed. One of the well known ones is rabbits and foxes. For years there’s a growing population of rabbits, then it explodes. Slightly behind it in time, there’s a growing population of foxes, then IT explodes. Shortly afterward, the rabbits all but disappear, and shortly after that, the foxes all but disappear. Then is all starts over again. About a 7 year cycle where I used to live, other areas have different cycles.

          So yeah, two data points a hundred years apart tells us nothing, disturbed or not.

          • This is not individual population fluctuation, if it were surely some species would show an increase. None did, 43% disappeared.
            Do you think it was windmills?

          • None did? You missed the part about the ravens?

            The population of anything in the desert is extremely thin and vulnerable, so no I don’t think it was windmills, and yes a 20% change in precipitation is significant. Now, is 20% natural? Let’s consider the timing of the two data sets. Take another look at the graph I posted earlier:

            https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/monitoring-content/sotc/drought/2012/09/Reg120_wet-dry_bar01000912.gif

            Grinnell did his studies during a relatively wet PRIOR to that huge dry spike in the late 30’s. For all we know, that’s what killed everything off, and it never came back. The resurvey starts in 2002, commensurate with ANOTHER large dry spike. So…

            1. Dry spikes are natural. They’ve happened before. CO2 emissions didn’t become significant until 1950, so you can’t blame CO2 for the older one, nor rule the modern one as unnatural.

            2. We have a tiny blip of data from a relatively wet period and a resurvey that was taken in a relatively dry period, nearly a century apart. When you’ve got continuous data from multiple wet periods and multiple dry periods let me know.

          • True the ravens. Look I am largely agreeing with you David. However not entirely. If the species numbers followed those rainfall fluctuations I would be. Only 2 data points…but I bet my bottom dollar they don’t. I bet there has been a more or less steady decline in species.

          • That’s the thing Ryan. I bet you are wrong. But neither of us has enough data to settle the bet, so its just opinions.

            Science isn’t about opinions.

          • …and this from good old Wikipedia:

            “In the original survey there was a large difference in terms of birds observed per unit time between J. Grinnell and T. Storer, with Grinnell having much higher scores than Storer for the same area.

            The results of two different surveyors of the exact same areas AT THE EXACT SAME TIME were different. No way to compare to the modern survey on that point ALONE.

          • Science isn’t about opinions.

            No. But 43%? This was a pretty systematic survey by the sounds, I think it’s unlikely this is “natural” variation. I’ve been a twitcher all my life and have seen local species disappear from a thousand cuts. Half is not natural and once their habitat is gone they don’t come back.

            Now try to explain to Eric that this bird-chopping meme is disingenuous.

          • “I’ve been a twitcher all my life and have seen local species disappear from a thousand cuts.”

            Wut mate?

          • Exactly, these types of studies are typically conducted by art majors and are pseudoscience all the way down.

          • David Hoffer said: “Grinnell did his studies during a relatively wet PRIOR to that huge dry spike in the late 30’s.”

            That’s not true. There was a much bigger dry period that occurred just prior to Grinnell’s Mojave research, which began in 1908. It lasted from 1893 to 1904 – 12 years of much drier conditions than that of the late 30s. https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs117-03/fig3.html

          • So Chris, there was a dry period before Grinnell, but when Grinnell got there, the birds were still there. Is that what you’re saying? AND you’re saying that dry periods, according to YOU are completely natural?

            And so the current dry period cannot be fingered as either being unnatural nor the culprit for the lack of birds.

            I agree with you.

          • David, where did I say that dry periods are completely natural? I gave you a record of historical precipitation for that location. It shows that your statement that Grinnell took his survey during a time of high precipitation is not true. #1 – it followed a very dry period, as I noted. #2 – it is certainly not wetter than the 1975-1985 periods, or the 1990-2000 period.

            Water availability is not just a function of precipitation, increasing temperatures in the Mojave are causing greater evaporation, which leads to lower water availability for birds.

          • Philip Schaeffer

            “I was responding to Chris. And your sarcasm detector is still broken.”

            Assuming you were responding to me, let me help you out here Phil ole’ buddy.

            When one responds to a comment it’s common courtesy to refer to your subject by name e.g. as I have done above when referring to you, as I believe I always do.

            It helps to eliminate confusion. It’s also helpful under certain circumstances to refer to the remark they made, as I have done above. Using inverted commas or “quotation marks” is also helpful.

            Your sarcasm is lost if it’s not, at worst, suitably directed; at best counter productive if it’s used as you do, like a scattergun wishful insult.

            I have no doubt this will make no difference to your approach but I at least I have pointed out some civil conventions to you.

            With that in mind, I have no idea who your ‘sarcasm’ was directed at so no, my sarcasm detector is not broken, your sarcasm is clearly dysfunctional though.

            And finally, as my mother used to tell me, “Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, and it’s only half wits that use it”.

            If you want to say something, say it. Don’t try to be clever, doing so merely risks exposing your stupidity.

          • David, where did I say that dry periods are completely natural?

            In the graph you linked to showing they were.

            It shows that your statement that Grinnell took his survey during a time of high precipitation is not true.

            Can you read your own graph? It how dry period before Grinnell, mostly wet during Grinnell, and dry period after Grinnel.

            increasing temperatures in the Mojave are causing greater

            Did you post a link to temps in the Mojave? Wasn’t in the paper (they graphed persistence vs temp which is meaningless) and I didn’t see a temp graph from you, so….

          • No, it didn’t, it just showed a plot of precipitation relative to the norm.

            It wasn’t particularly high during Grinnell’s time – as I noted it was higher in the 80s and 90s than when he did his survey. Yet you postulated that the population took a hit and never recovered (zero evidence provided for that assertion).

            The paper talks about a .8C warming.

          • Yet you postulated that the population took a hit and never recovered (zero evidence provided for that assertion).

            I postulated no such thing. I pointed out that without continuous data, we don’t know if the bird population declined in the years immediately after the survey, or just before the resurvey, or sometime in between. You pointed out that there was a large dry period prior to the survey, which I agreed with. That dry period was a) natural since CO2 emissions weren’t significant yet, and b) didn’t wipe out the birds since we know they were still there when Grinnell did his survey, and c) since the previous dry period was natural and didn’t wipe out the birds, we cannot say that the current dry period isn’t natural, nor that it wiped out the birds since you conveniently provided the data to show that previous dry periods didn’t.

            Thank you for your support.

          • David said: Yet you postulated that the population took a hit and never recovered (zero evidence provided for that assertion).

            I postulated no such thing.

            Yes, you did. From above: “Grinnell did his studies during a relatively wet PRIOR to that huge dry spike in the late 30’s. For all we know, that’s what killed everything off, and it never came back.”

          • Yes, you did.

            By your quote of me, what I said was “for all we know” which is true. We don’t know because we have zero data between Grinnell and the resurvey. So we know nothing about what happened in between.

        • And to power the southern portion of the state with Low density energy like concentrated solar would require covering the half of the entire area just to power the LA basin area and still require Gas energy to keep the salt molten for 8-10 hours per night
          There goes the undisturbed 85%

        • RyanS

          Perhaps some of the 43% of the birds moved into the 15% developed areas where food is easy to get.

          Just a thought.

          • And you would propose “Disturbing” the remainder of the Mojave with tens of thousands of heliostats and hundreds of millions of solar panels to replace fossil fuels?

          • RyanS

            “Probably less food in the disturbed areas.”

            That’ll by why rats live cheek by jowl with humans and Polar Bears are raiding trash cans in Alaska.

          • “Virtually every species out there find more food where people are”
            No evidence for that…because it is ludicrous.

            “rats live cheek by jowl with humans and Polar Bears are raiding trash cans”

            From the study:
            Winners and Losers.
            “Arid-land specialists, habitat generalists, and more broadly distributed species were also more resilient to decline, but these groups still decreased, just to a lesser degree.”

            The vast majority of species decline when humans intrude or if their habitat is altered signifcantly. Generalist scavengers like rats tend to do ok.

          • RyanS

            Too lazy to address your comments? Once again.

            F*ck me, a scientist makes a generalisation, Ryan jumps on it and shows himself up as a dick, once again.

            Joke folks: How many generalisations does it take to make a dick? Answer: General Ryan. Sadly, not a funny joke as Ryan was included.

            “The vast majority of species decline when humans intrude or if their habitat is altered signifcantly.” That’ll be why Polar Bear numbers are growing. No? I mean, we’ve melted all the f*cking ice haven’t we?

            FFS Ryan, try to get a semblance of coherence into your arguments somewhere. How many contradictions can you make in one day? Roadkill every two to three hundred yards of your journey. Seriously, It’s just tedious.

            And what you simply don’t recognise is that humans are part of nature. If we eat everything, we die as well. That’s what natural selection is all about, remember Darwin? If we pollute the air we die, we’re dying anyway, so who cares? When there’s five people on the planet in 1,000 years time, will anyone worry but them?

            I think Einstein said something like, “I have been dead for billions of years, it caused me not the least inconvenience”.

            Stop fretting and wringing your little handies. It will all work out one way or the other, and we have no control whatsoever.

            Honestly, man made climate change, it’s the most ridiculous concept ever dreamed up.

      • Because the intent was to ‘each a conclusion that climate change is a factor’ that way ends up with grant cash , the other way not.
        Truly religions people can find god in anything at any time because they motived enough to do so .

    • Area isn’t really the issue here Percy. Birds use the best prevailing winds to move long distances. Wind farms are placed to take advantage of the best prevailing winds. The wind farm may be small, but it is placed exactly where the birds prefer to fly.

        • I have to ask…
          Ferdberple posted a comment at 5:25 this morning (Aug 21) that you replied to at 5:32 WRT the Greening of the Mojave Desert as having the potential effect of invasive species displacing resident ones. Your comment didn’t negate the “Greening” portion of his statement.

          Does this mean that you are in agreement with the “Greening” of the Mojave as an actual occurrence?
          Then, If the Mojave IS Greening, what is causing it?

          Certainly a 20% reduction in available annual rainfall should have the negative effect on the Mojave and prevent greening. This would only leave the CO2 fertilization effect as the cause of greening in the Mojave, Greening without the requirement of additional water.

    • Mike – you need to read the paper
      “We assessed how climate change and other stressors have impacted desert bird populations over the past century by resurveying sites throughout the Mojave Desert that were originally surveyed for avian diversity in the early 20th century by Joseph Grinnell and colleagues.”

      I am curious to know what evidence you have for deciding that the work of Joseph Grinnell and colleagues was poor? Counting nesting birds is not hard and if anything I would suggest that you are more likely to undercount populations than overcount.

      • You imply that his survey; which was probably very good for the time; is the exact equivalent of your survey and I call bull shit on that.
        You are a typical narcissist in saying *I am curious to know what evidence you have for deciding that the work of Joseph Grinnell and colleagues was poor?* but I am used to that from your type.

        • So what that you called bull shit? You’re a drive by debater, you don’t do substance and detail, just high level grand pronouncements.

          • and that was a load of gibberish. Just read your first sentence. If you want to be taken seriously you really need use the language properly.

          • hahahaha – as opposed to your sentence: You are a typical narcissist in saying *I am curious to know what evidence you have for deciding that the work of Joseph Grinnell and colleagues was poor?* but I am used to that from your type.

            That’s proper language use?

          • You yet again have proved yourself to be totally uneducated.
            There is an old saying where it is better to remain silent than open your mouth/type and prove that you are an idiot.

          • Chris

            “hahahaha – as opposed to your sentence:…………”

            And you call mikebartnz a drive by debater?

            Pot, Kettle methinks.

          • I read the paper. I did calculations on bird density over the Mojave. I read up on Grinnell’s life and his various research trips. What did you do?

          • Chris

            “I read the paper. I did calculations on bird density over the Mojave. I read up on Grinnell’s life and his various research trips.”

            Hmm…..I’m puzzled. Should I respond to a question that might have been directed at me, or should I respond to a question directed at no one.

            I reckon a genuine scientist would take care over addressing their post’s, after all, they are usually particular people.

            But that’s beyond you Chris. The mere courtesy of acknowledging someone else on a blog is something quite alien to you.

            Yet you would have others (me specifically) believe you have qualifications dripping from your arsehole; other than common courtesy.

            You can’t even address a comment to an individual, far less make a coherent one.

            On the other hand, you could tell me you’re a lazy B’stard and I might just accept that as an apology for your “drive by” behaviour. But you won’t even do that, will you Chris?

          • Hotscot, most of the time I use your name, this time I didn’t. You made a big deal out of that. Mike Bartz does it, and you say nothing.

          • Chris

            “…………..most of the time I use your name, this time I didn’t. You made a big deal out of that. Mike Bartz does it, and you say nothing.”

            Diddums

      • Percy Jackson doth quote”
        am curious to know what evidence you have for deciding that the work of Joseph Grinnell and colleagues was poor? Counting nesting birds is not hard

        Wkipedia in its article on Grinnell says:
        “In the original survey there was a large difference in terms of birds observed per unit time between J. Grinnell and T. Storer, with Grinnell having much higher scores than Storer for the same area.

        So apparently it IS hard and two different researchers in the same place at the same time couldn’t get comparable numbers. If the study was done using Storer’s data instead of Grinnell’s, it would be a different result. The Wikipedia article (not that I trust Wikipedia a whole lot) even discusses the inaccuracy of the the resurvey due to variations in surveyor effort.

        So yes, counting nesting birds it turns out ss hard, and both the original and the resurvey data have big question marks. No wonder they left the error bars out!

        • davidmhoffer
          There are just so many variables involved that you really can’t make any comparison. Equipment including vehicles or the lack of them and as you pointed out two people at the same time coming up with very different results.
          There is also the problem of conformation bias from the article.
          In the Wairarapa, New Zealand where I live there has been a major reduction in opossum and magpie numbers (both Aussie imports) and there has been a major increase in Tui and Bell bird numbers and probably others but I have really noticed them. People need to be very careful as to what they import into an area because of the damage that can be done.

          • Don’t blame you for leaving. One of the windiest towns around. I worked up in Porongahau where it would take two people to open and close a wooden gate.
            Yes 1080 is still used. My brother and a friend are totally against it but from what I have seen it has done far more good than harm.
            I haven’t done so for a while but used to go out to Riversdale Station which used to be part of White Rock and about two years after the 1080 and then bait stations I went for a hunt behind the house at sparrow fart hour and all I heard when walking up the valley was the song of the Bell Bird.
            It reminded me of reading about Charles Douglas, who was a tough old bird that was an early explorer of the West Coast, who talked about the early morning chorus. If you can read his biography it is well worth it.
            Grinnell was probably a tough old bird too because when he did that there wouldn’t have been many luxuries around.

          • I did give you quite a long reply but for some reason it has ended up in the dust bin.
            It wasn’t so much the councils but DOC and yes it still happens.
            Don’t even know why it ended up in the dust bin because there was absolutely nothing offensive in it. May be it was the use of the word, won’t use it but it is out from the coast of, at windy spot on the coast from Ypuk.
            I am getting tired of having to use language to cover what is normal

          • Now that is funny because that went through without moderation and yet my previous didn’t probably because of using Maori words made it fail.

          • Ah yes DoC, I contracted for DoC and NIWA around the 2000’s wasn’t impressed with their practices.

          • Doc has definitely gone through various stages of being respected and disrespected. I think a lot probably depends on who the top dog is and there have definitely been some dogs in both institutions.

          • As I was saying in a long post to you that got binned. I for years have gone out to Riversdale Station which used to be part of White Rock and one morning about two years after a 1080 and bait station blitz on possums I went for an early morning shoot and walking up the valley all I heard was the Bell Bird morning chorus. It was lovely and reminded me of reading Charles Douglas’s biography. He was an early explorer of the West Coast and was a very tough old bird. Well worth reading.

          • That’ll be a shame. I have been posting at WUWT for probably the best part of 10 years, lost loads of posts! Frustrating but just a fact of life with blogs like this. Also, the whole blog was recently moved.

          • I realize some can go amiss but that is two with absolutely nothing that needed moderating in them that have ended up in the bin and if you can’t post something that is innocuous it is not worth posting at all. I have never before had one binned in any forum. I have had the occasional smack on the hand though. I do realize that it has just changed and very much for the better apart from this.

          • I have been on WUWT for a few years but I am curious as to what triggered the moderation.

            [We don’t get a lot of information regarding the mysteries of our WordPress overlords (may they live forever!) but just have to check the Trash folder periodically to catch WordPress’s (may it live forever!) unnecessary deletions. Your comment was fine. Just got caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time. “He was a good comment…just started hanging out with the riffraff, see. That’s when it all went south.” We advise avoiding those bad neighborhoods altogether in the future. -mod]

  10. “The Mojave Desert is now nearly half empty of birds,” said Beissinger, a UC Berkeley professor of environmental science

    Here’s the Death Ray in the Mojave Desert built by bird haters

        • Funny how literally witnessing the ablation of living species is perfectly fine, normal, nothing to see here folks. But comparing “scientific” surveys 100 years apart and attributing any difference in statistical analysis to something you have no evidence of that is outside your discipline equates to running for the cave Chicken Little style.

          • funny how folks equate the death of thousands of birds from solar collectors to a decline of millions of birds and can’t understand there’s a slight difference in the number of zeros.

          • If that’s the case, then you are wasting your time on trivial issues. Who focuses on 6,000 bird deaths and ignores millions?

  11. “California deserts have already experienced quite a bit of drying and warming because of climate change … “. Seriously? Who knew that deserts could be warm and dry? I worked in deserts more than 50 years ago and as far as I can recall, they were really, really hot and really, really dry … for many months of each year.

    • I spent 30 straight days in the Mojave at Ft Irwin for training in August 1983, and it was really really wet.

  12. The Greenies are marvelous at adding 2 and 2 and getting 5. Bird populations plummeting in the Mojave? It couldn’t possibly be because of the wind turbines and solar panels, could it? Nah…that would make much too much sense!

  13. It’s all right, bird-lovers!

    It’s only LIVE birds that are a bit rare around the desert renewable power installations. Dead bird numbers are doing fine….

    • I was talking to a couple of old ducks at the NBL a couple of months ago.
      They claimed that if CO2 exceeded 410ppm, then they were gonnas.
      I guess it got to 811ppm in some part of the globe and now they are dead ducks.

      • You had a case somewhere in Africa where a lake gave a big CO2 belch and extinguished life around it including quite a few humans.

        • Yes the animals and people in the villages of Cha, Nyos, and Subum were suffocated with a CO2 belch from a lake.

        • One report says the CO2 concentration exceeded 15%. We are at .04%. Even if we burned all the fossil fuels on the planet, we cannot reach that level. This may be an interesting event, but it has nothing to do with CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

      • Tell them that CO2 in their bedrooms in the morning is probably well over 1000ppm, maybe even 2000ppm..

        Then sit back and watch the histrionics 🙂

          • Well, there are experiments that use a closed, lab environment that is used as proof that CO2 traps heat. Which of course is complete BS.

          • Right, so through your own research you’ve disproved that and replaced it with a more complete theory? Nobel Prize material right there.

          • With my studies in physics I know CO2 cannot trap heat. If you know otherwise please present your evidence. Nah, don’t bother…I know you can’t!

          • RyanS

            According to Tyndall, yes.

            “He concluded that water vapour is the strongest absorber of radiant heat in the atmosphere and is the principal gas controlling air temperature. Absorption by the other gases is not negligible but relatively small.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Tyndall

            And yes, it is a credible Wikipedia page (for once) as the Royal Institute links directly to it from their page on Tyndall.

          • Trapped and re-radieated are not the same thing. Or are we using Newtonian terms mixed with quantum?

          • RyanS

            “I was hoping for Patrick’s thoughts given his rejection of CO2 as a heat-trapper.”

            My comment isn’t conclusive or convincing enough?

          • No does not trap heat, given the fact to use the word “heat” is technically and physically incorrect.

          • Patrick MJD
            No does not trap heat, given the fact to use the word “heat” is technically and physically incorrect.

            What is the correct word?

          • Well that is true, but having been irradiated from below by the earth it re-radiates in all direction, some of it back down, effective trapping a fraction. The more CO2 or H2O or CH4 above the more gets trapped. Humid nights are usually warmer.

          • Again, there theory is re-radiation. That is a quantum physics thing, not a trap”. If it “trapped it”, it wouldn’t be a problem. The heat would stay in the CO2 and have no effect.

  14. “…bird numbers are plummeting… despite efforts by local authorities in the region to reduce CO2 emissions by filling the desert with wind turbines and solar concentrators”

    It might not be the cause (assuming the reported measurements match with reality) but it was about the funniest thing I have read all week. I love his sense of humor.

    FACT: Wind turbines kills birds. FACT: Solar concentrators kill birds. Conclusion: Neither are helping out with the bird populations. So while they may not be the main cause, they are contributors.

    Climate is going to change with or without man adding CO2 to the atmosphere. The additional CO2 *might* cause slightly more heating in the desert, but also may increase rainfall. I say slightly because most of the predicted heating of models comes from additional water vapor, not from the CO2 itself. In a desert, there just isn’t much water to add to the air (at least not from any local sources). Actually farming in the desert will cause more heating than adding some CO2 will, as it increases the water available to evaporation. And never mind most of the heating will be during the cold night, not during the hot day.

    So any effort to blame this on man changing the climate is laughable (and deserves more good jokes be written about it). Now…man messing with the land (land change) might actually be more supportable. Man destroying bird friendly environments with housing developments would come to mind. Or this might simply be some natural cycle we are too ignorant to have noticed.

  15. Eric said: “This appears to be occurring despite efforts by local authorities in the region to reduce CO2 emissions by filling the desert with wind turbines and solar concentrators.”

    “Filling the desert”? The Mojave desert is 48,000 square miles, or 3 million acres. The largest solar collector site is Ivanpah, which is 3,500 acres. The next largest is 1,500 acres. There are a few others, all considerably smaller. Say the total is 20,000 acres. That represents .7% of the total desert area.

    The study also notes: “Though the decline has happened across the entire Mojave Desert, sites with available water saw less decline, suggesting that dehydration is a major factor.”

    So gee, which is more likely to be the culprit, declining water supplies, which affects both drinking water for birds as well as food supplies, or solar plants that cover .7% of the desert?

    • No, no, it’s bird choppers.

      Eric isn’t interested in the facts, he’ll be posting another bird-chopping ‘essay’ within days to keep the zombie myth going. I guess the only explanation is idealogical. Smh.

      • I made a mistake, the Mojave is 30M acres, not 3M. So the % is .07%, not .7%. Even more trivial.

        Scientists spend months counting bird populations, and noting which areas have seen decline. They note which areas have been hit hard by a decline in surface water, and which are doing better, and then establish a correlation – bird populations are declining the most in areas where the surface water decline has been the greatest. That’s called science.

        Here on WUWT, folks like Eric wave their arms and say “it’s solar collectors and wind farms” without providing any evidence whatsoever that those are the MAIN cause of bird declines. I found an article that stated that 6,000 birds per year die at Ivanpah. That’s certainly not a trivial number, but tiny compared to the bird population of a 30M acre area. Let’s be conservative and say that there is 1 bird per acre across all species (I could not find a figure for the Mojave). That’s 30M birds across the 30M acres. A 40% decline in bird population means a total of 12M birds. 6,000/year can be explained by Ivanpah. Where’s your explanation for the other 11.9M, Eric?

        • Leaving aside the rather conservative estimated death toll, if Mojave bird populations are anything like Australian desert populations they follow violent boom and bust cycles.

          Pressure a population during a bust and you could do disproportionate damage.

          Given evidence of a serious problem, why take chances? The birds are dying, and you’re trying to defend useless green infrastructure which is contributing to the slaughter.

          • OK, Eric, then lets’ apply your logic across all power generation sectors. Fair enough? A Spanish study counted 596 dead birds over a 4 year period across 20 wind turbine sites with 252 turbines. That works out to 1.33 dead birds/year/turbine.

            And from a 2009 study done in Europe and the US: “A 2009 study using US and European data on bird deaths estimated the number of birds killed per unit of power generated by wind, fossil fuel and nuclear power systems.

            It concluded, “Wind farms and nuclear power stations are responsible each for between 0.3 and 0.4 fatalities per gigawatt-hour (GWh) of electricity while fossil-fuelled power stations are responsible for about 5.2 fatalities per GWh.”

            So fossil fuel power stations have a bird fatality rate and is more than 10X higher than wind farms. Are you suggesting we should shut down fossil-fuel power stations, Eric?

          • Fossil fuel plants produce hundreds of time what wind and solar do and they do it 24/7. Try using a REAL statistic, like bird deaths per unit of energy produced. Wind and solar are huge killers seen that way. Plus, should we actually be stupid enough to try for 100% wind and solar, the extinction of thousands of birds is likely. All for garbage energy that can’t keep the lights on. Better to just destroy all the birds right now and be done with—it’s more honest.

          • Just how were those birds killed whose deaths are being attributed to Fossil Fuel Energy sources?
            Are they found lying on the ground within the generation facility? (direct cause)
            Are they found on the ground beneath the electrical wiring at transmission level? (indirect cause)
            Are they found on the ground beneath Distribution lines? (far indirect cause)
            …BUT, would also apply to Distribution electrical wires energized by Solar or Wind generation.
            Is Pollution being blamed (Carbon Pollution?) for a certain percentage of annual bird deaths and attributed to Fossil Fueled Energy Production based upon some model?

          • “and you’re trying to defend useless green infrastructure which is contributing to the slaughter”

            Let me try to pick apart this Mobius strip of logic.

            Bird population are crashing. A tiny fraction can be attributed to windmills and collectors. A 20% reduction in rainfall (a change in the climate) looks like the main cause.

            The reason for building renewable energy infrastructure is to mitigate climate change…but somehow you find a way to ignore the root cause and instead try to blame the solution.

            You’re being extremely frugal with the truth. Ditch the fake news.

          • You’re making stuff up Ryan. You don’t know if your wild guesses are representative of what is happening on the ground. What we do know is there is a set of useless bird mass murder machines in the desert, and lots of birds are disappearing, presumed dead.

            How about we start by dismantling the bird killing machines, see if that improves the situation?

          • Eric, we’ve shown that the largest of the solar concentrator sites kills 6,000 birds/year. Call it more, call it 20,000. It doesn’t matter, it’s tiny compared to a Mojave bird population in the 10s of millions. You refuse to acknowledge that. It’s like focusing on a mosquito bite when you’ve also got a severed artery. It’s a pointless distraction from the real problem.

            And then you suggest that $2B in investment be flushed – just to see if that helps, when the numbers already show that it won’t.

            By the way, it’s known that coal fired plants kill lots of birds – are you suggesting we shut those down as well?

          • You’ve shown nothing of the sort Chris, the estimates vary wildly, and they are a politically sensitive number. In addition as I pointed out desert animals are subject to boom and bust – in bust cycles a steady stream of deaths could do disproportionate damage.

            As for flushing $2B of “investment”, that was flushed the moment someone pushed the go button – it only survives by virtue of throwing good money after bad.

          • Eric, I’ve shown that your math is ludicrous. Regardless of whether the figure is 3,500 birds or 6,000 (which Ivanpah counted by picking up dead birds – seems like a reasonably accurate method) or 20,000 – it’s still tiny compared to 10s of millions. You just refuse to acknowledge that fact.

          • They noticed a disproportionate decline in predators:

            ” In the Mojave, carnivores were impacted more severely than other dietary guilds (Fig. 3). This trend was also reflected in our family clustering analysis, in which falcons and accipiters experienced significantly greater declines than other families. (SI Appendix, Fig. S4). This result is in accordance with theoretical and empirical evidence for greater sensitivity of higher trophic levels to climate change, either due to amplification of declines at lower trophic levels or to a temporal mismatch with prey resources (42). Loss of predators has led to trophic downgrading and greatly altered the structure and function in other ecosystems”

            How many apex predators do you have to kill before you have a significant effect on an ecosystem? You know, the kind of predators which chase other birds into the green energy killing field?

            I’m not saying there aren’t other factors, like cyclic changes to rainfall, but your simplistic math is overlooking some serious potential harm your bird killing machines could be causing to the ecosystem.

          • You keep saying killing machines, but have yet to point out the names of any wind farms in the Mojave desert. So we have 2 solar concentrators, which together may kill .2% of the bird population in the Mojave, when the total decline is 43%. And gee, and since we’ve shown the 40% decline in predators cannot be due to the solar concentrators (.2% < 43%, the last time I checked), it makes far more sense that their prey, such as desert cottontail and rats, have declined due to lack of water and reduced vegetation, leading to the decline in apex predators.

          • The common raven seems to be doing quite well, according to the study. If the issue was a simple decline in food, opportunists like the common raven would also have suffered a decline. The study authors attribute the common raven’s success to a proliferation of anthropogenic food sources, so there should also be more rats and other scavengers about – prey for the missing predators.

          • “The study authors attribute the common raven’s success to a proliferation of anthropogenic food sources, so there should also be more rats and other scavengers about – prey for the missing predators.”

            The Mojave is 30M acres. How much of that do you think is near garbage cans or other anthropogenic sources?

          • Not much, but that’s where the populations concentrate.
            Have you ever been to the Mojave desert? I live near it and travel there frequently, and not just on the 14 and 395 but between them as well.

          • That’s what Chris did:
            And from a 2009 study done in Europe and the US: “A 2009 study using US and European data on bird deaths estimated the number of birds killed per unit of power generated by wind, fossil fuel and nuclear power systems.

            It concluded, “Wind farms and nuclear power stations are responsible each for between 0.3 and 0.4 fatalities per gigawatt-hour (GWh) of electricity while fossil-fuelled power stations are responsible for about 5.2 fatalities per GWh.”

          • Wouldn’t that require an actual conservationist and scientist to understand the tradeoff? It seems unlikely you have one here……

          • Not sure what happened here—comments should be more spread out, not all together…..Cyberspace stikes again.

          • “The reason for building renewable energy infrastructure is to mitigate climate change”

            For which there is no evidence that it could possibly do so.

        • So would you agree that the emissions of CO2 from human activities is equally trivial, ie, the ~4% of the 0.04% total?

          • Atmospheric CO2 has gone from 280ppm during the pre industrial period to 410 today. How did you arrive at your 4% figure?

          • Again, the 280ppm/v figure is an estimate. You trust that figure and the science behind it on an estimate?

          • No dispute there in the numbers if the starting point was actually real. Its like spicing proxy data with instrumental data (Mann and hockey stick), the starting point is false and should not be relied on! It’s like NOAA claiming to know what the global average temperature was back in 1850. Totally ridiculous.

          • An increase from an unconfirmed starting level, an estimate, a guess? You are damn right I don’t believe that. You can believe what you like.

          • The best we can do is start at the point when CO2 concentration was actually being reliably measured up to today. Anything before that is just too unreliable to be used in any form of genuine science.

          • I never said CO2 increased %4. I said the annual human contribution is ~4%. Don’t read well do you?

          • Oh dear! ~(Approximately)4% annually of ~400ppm/v of which ~50% is absorbed by the biosphere. I thought you studied this subject?

          • An increase from 1 ppm to 2 ppm is 100%. Let’s all scream and shout and run in circles over that statistic, too.

          • Chris

            “Fine, don’t believe 280. It’s still 30% based on instrument data from Mauna Lea.”

            A CO2 measurement station sited on top of an active volcano.

          • RyanS

            Ever wondered to yourself, I mean just on the off chance, that Mauna Loa numbers might be lower were it not sited on a volcano?

            No, sorry, silly question.

            Personally, I wonder if this is raw data, or adjusted for the fact Mauna Loa is sited on top of a volcano.

            Nor is it anything astonishing (am I supposed to gasp in horror when I see a Keeling curve?). Perhaps you should show an example going back millions of years.

            GASP!…..Oh look what just fell out my computer directly onto Anthony’s blog!

            http://www.biocab.org/Geological_Timescale.jpg

            Well fancy that. CO2 has nothing whatsoever to do with temperature. I really must take more care of what’s in my computer, naughty Geological timescale!

            Oh look, sarcasm detector working again.

          • Use absolute numbers, not percentages. Going from 1 ppm to 2 ppm is a DOUBLING. Hysterics all around?????

          • Funny, you dismiss 6000 dead birds out of millions and then claim 130 PARTS PER MILLION CO2 is somehow significant…..

            Guess it’s only significant if helps your cause.

        • Chris

          But you maintain that man made CO2 @ ~0.0012% of the atmosphere is changing the course of world events.

          Quid pro quo.

          • HotScot, I maintain that the 40% increase in atmospheric CO2, which has occurred over the last 150 years, is causing the earth to warm more rapidly than it otherwise would.

          • “Blame the planet for that?” Nonsensical argument. Gee, I can play the small number game too – ingesting arsenic is no big deal because it’s a small number. It’s totally swamped out by the presence of H2O in the body! The “it’s a small % so it can’t cause problems” is one of the dumbest arguments of all time.

          • Chris

            “The “it’s a small % so it can’t cause problems” is one of the dumbest arguments of all time.”

            Whilst comparing arsenic and CO2 is THE dumbest argument of all time.

            Next you’ll be using the ‘bacteria’ argument.

        • “I made a mistake, the Mojave is 30M acres, not 3M. So the % is .07%, not .7%. Even more trivial.”

          Just like atmospheric CO2.

      • RyanS, fact free and proud of it. Where actual counts are taken, NOT BY THE OWNERS OF THE PLANTS, birds are declining and the corpses are there. This can only be done on public land, so private is preferred so bird counts can be hidden and lied about.

          • They are you words Sheri. “Actual” is fairly unambiguous. You can’t claim that then not put them out there.

          • Sure I can when the person asking has zero interest in the answer. I would answer if you were actually interested and not out to dismiss anything I post. It will be an ad hominem attack or lacking peer-review or some other excuse. Not playing.

          • So Sheri just says stuff. No references, no links, just proof by assertion. It’s pretty gutless to attack the work of others, but not be willing to put anything up yourself.

          • Not when the other persons have zero interest in the answers. If you really had any interest. Again, I have read the Troll Manual™. I know your techniques. You have no interest in discussion, truth, etc.

          • That is 100% false. But unlike you, I dive into the studies and look at data. I don’t just sit there glassy eyed like one of the zombies in Apple’s 1984 ad lapping up climate skeptic points, as you do.

          • Chris

            “That is 100% false. But unlike you, I dive into the studies and look at data.”

            Brilliant, thank you Chris, at last. I assume from that you now have the empirical evidence to support the contention that CO2 causes global warming. I mean after you “dived into the studies and data” and all that.

            I’m certain you found it so I’m waiting for your revelation.

          • Lol, what a cop out. You said it. But you won’t support it. And somehow that is someone else’s fault.

            You know the troll manual alright.

          • HotScot, I’m happy to provide the links of the reports I looked at. Here’s one of the re-survey reports: https://www.sdnhm.org/download_file/view/5290/1320/

            Here is a copy of the paper: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/07/31/1805123115

            Here’s a quote that shows that the decline that occurred in the Mojave is dramatically worse than declines that occurred in other regions nearby.

            “The decline of birds in the Mojave Desert appears to be exceptional compared with resurveys of adjacent ecoregions in the Sierra Nevada (23) and Central Valley (24) that occurred on the same timescale, at similar geographic scales, and following the same methods. Whether in the more diverse Sierras (n = 205 species) or slightly less diverse Central Valley (n = 122), little change in richness occurred over the past century (mean of −2.6 and +1.9 species per site, respectively) compared with the Mojave (n = 135 species) that experienced a loss of 17.9 species per site.”

          • Chris

            “In the original survey there was a large difference in terms of birds observed per unit time between J. Grinnell and T. Storer, with Grinnell having much higher scores than Storer for the same area.”

            I wonder if you balanced your reading with T. Storers observations. Probably not.

            Oh look, what a coincidence. From the abstract of the paper you read:

            We evaluated how desert birds have responded to climate and habitat change by resurveying historic sites throughout the Mojave Desert that were originally surveyed for avian diversity during the early 20th century by Joseph Grinnell and colleagues.

            Well I never, knock me down with an endangered bird feather. Not a mention in the abstract of T. Storer.

            Never mind da birdies……where’s the empirical evidence that CO2 causes the planet to warm!

    • My mouse traps cover less than one percent of my larder shelves but they do a pretty good job of eliminating the mice which my cat missed.

      Solar concentrators bait their trap with insects drawn in by the glare.

        • So 6000 out of 12M is insignificant but 1560 out of 12M (ie 130ppm) is somehow significant. hypocrite much?

          • Hahaha, let’s compare 2 completely different things, shall we, John? Comparing bird death percentages to atmospheric CO2. logical incoherence much?

          • Yes you are logically incoherent, glad we agree about that Chris. Either a really, really small percentage is significant or it’s not. pick one and be consistent.
            Though you are right about them being different things, as different as life and death: one marks the death of thousands of birds, the other feeds the worlds living plants.

          • “Either a really, really small percentage is significant or it’s not. pick one and be consistent.”

            Amazing, John is doubling down on his incoherent point. Well, gee, John, a really, really small number matters if it’s, say, ppm of arsenic in something you drink. But it doesn’t matter if it’s sugar. Got it?

          • Chris triples down on his logical incoherence.
            CO2 is not arsenic. It’s not a pollutant (it’s plant food) and it’s not dangerous at even twice current levels (don’t believe me, just walk into any hot house on the planet where CO2 levels are considerably higher than in the atmosphere). Got it?

            You go on and on about how insignificant a small ppm of the actual death of birds is, yet insist the even smaller ppm of a non-pollutant like CO2 is akin to a poison like arsenic (which isn’t safe at most any level). So actual harm (killing birds) is an insignificant problem whereas a harmless gas that is essential for life on earth is the equivalent of Arsenic and is a danger that must be stopped? Bwhahahahahahahahahahaha Your logical incoherence is too funny Chris the dunce.

          • John, and you and others go on and on about how the small, insignificant trace gas CO2, which can’t possibly affect climate, is causing a dramatic greening of the planet. How do you explain that contradiction?

            Hypocrisy, of course, is the answer. But I’ll wait for your explanation.

          • CO2 feeds the plants (hence greening) it doesn’t control the temperature it doesn’t cause all the predicited calamities (predictions that have consistently failed when checked against observation). Do please keep up!

          • Chris

            Please don’t be silly.

            Arsenic is a poison, CO2 isn’t to man unless it’s around 5,000ppm. Lets start worrying when we get to, say, 2,000ppm in the atmosphere.

            Then I’ll clutch you little handy and sing Kumbaya.

        • You mean like sage grouse, who fear predators from the air and thus may move from the area out of fear of predators rousting on wind turbines?

          • The several hundered littering the once beautiful prairies of Wyoming. Try to keep up. I moved to general wind turbines, you’re still stuck with your heads in the desert sand. Really, you don’t know where sage grouse live? Yep, a true wildlife expert there…….

      • Lol, article links large decline over large area to climate change…. So, naturally we’re talking about wind and solar!

        But it’s OK, because Eric has some scientific justification….

        “Interesting that a highly intelligent, opportunistic scavenger species like the common raven is doing well, in a region littered with renewable power installations.”

        Wow, I can’t handle all this science!

        “A new study claims that bird numbers are plummeting in the Mojave Desert region because of climate change. This appears to be occurring despite efforts by local authorities in the region to reduce CO2 emissions by filling the desert with wind turbines and solar concentrators.”

        WUT? Exactly what is your point there? Looks like an attempt at cheap point scoring to me.

        Exactly how long have the solar collectors and wind turbines been there? How much of the decline would you attribute to them? What about the species in decline that aren’t birds?

        • Put a set of mass killing machines in the desert then wonder where all the desert birds have gone. Here’s a thought – how about dismantling the mass killing machines, and see if that has a positive impact on bird numbers?

          • Once again, Eric ignores the fact that the sites cover .07% of the total Mojave desert. That’s right – less than .1%. Coal fired plants kill far more birds, Eric – should we shut those down?

          • No. Unlike the solar monstrosities coal plants do something useful. And I somehow doubt modern filtered exhaust from coal does anything like the damage from bird choppers or bird roasters.

          • “littered with renewable power installations.”

            Yeah, they’re all over the place….. Actually, they’re concentrated in a relatively small area.

          • By what metric are Coal Fired Plants killing more birds?
            How are these reputed kills being attributed to Coal Power?

          • Is your position that any form of power generation that leads to the death of animals should be removed?

            Lol, mass killing machines! But coal power systems aren’t mass killing machines, because you like coal power.

          • From your study:

            “US Department of Energy (2008), those 339 turbines were responsible for 0.269 avian deaths per GWh.” – Green era funny. Enough said really.

          • No, Philip, try to keep up. It’s based on value versus damage. Wind and solar are virtually useless except as tax shelters and political virtue signalling. They are a waste as far as energy goes (don’t bother to quote statistics where someone generated a bunch of energy for an hour—we don’t live one hour at at time. Check the BPA website to see the tiny wind contribution) and killing birds for a tax shelter is immoral as far as I am concerned.

          • Down the rabbit hole with Eric. I really can’t work out whether you believe your own notions or not. They’re so twisted but you seem determined to keep a straight face.

            I guess what you’re saying is that these researchers – a professor of population biology and his PhD students – spent three years carefully surveying the areas, found they were missing 43% of the species they were looking for… and the reason that doesn’t appear in their results is that a. they didn’t notice the piles of feathered carcasses lying around, or b. they did but they are covering it up?
            Is that really what you beleive?

          • By your estimates 6000 deaths per year at Ivanpah, they weren’t mentioned either. Perhaps they didn’t look.

          • “By your estimates 6000 deaths per year at Ivanpah, they weren’t mentioned either. Perhaps they didn’t look.”

            The researchers are not going to carry out their survey on a power production site. So why bring up a distraction like this? Gee, because it’s a diversion from the main point, which is that an avian population decline of 40% across 30M acres dwarfs 6,000 birds, or whatever the Ivanpah figure is.

            As to your refusal to believe the bird mortality data for wind farms versus fossil fuel sites, what is the basis of your objection? A “gut feel”? How scientific of you.

          • The basis of my objection is suspicion about the methodology. The high mortality due to fossil fuels includes an estimate for the impact of “climate change”.

            Helpfully in table 1 they have also provided an estimate for bird mortality from fossil fuels which excludes climate change, which is substantially lower than the deaths attributed to wind turbines excluding climate change.

            https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/1943815X.2012.746993

            Finally, while perhaps the most difficult to quantify, climate change is already threatening the survival of millions of birds around the world. Thomas et al. (2004) concluded that climate change was the single greatest long-term threat to birds and other avian wildlife. Looking at the mid-range scenarios in climate change expected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, they projected that 15% to 37% Journal of Integrative Environmental Sciences 261 of all species of birds could be extinct by 2050. These numbers, too, can be tentatively quantified into 9.16 deaths per GWh from oil, natural gas, and coal-fired power stations.

            Adding the avian deaths from coal mining, plant operation, acid rain, mercury, and climate change together results in a total of 9.36 fatalities per GWh.

          • Deaths from cats and windows dwarf anything else. Bird deaths due to cats are estimated at 1 billion per year in the US. So why are you focusing on this?

          • Cats are natural? A species that originated in the Middle East is “natural” in the US? Please explain that.

          • I bet they cannot provide one single picture of a bird killed by a coal fired power plant, except maybe one dumb enough to fly into a stationary chimney, rather than using it for a roost.

            NEVER the evidence. !!

          • I think you’ll find that mining, processing and transport manages to kill plenty of animals including birds. Have you seen a large open cut coal mine?

          • Actually, they kill surprising few. There are regulations about when you cannot move equipment, etc, when birds nest (yes, the workers tend to encourage nesting elsewhere), the foxes, rabbits, birds, etc pretty much stay out of the way of the very large equipment (yeah, they’re pretty smart that way—big object coming, run). My husband has pictures of a bobcat sitting on top of a piece of mine machinery. Antelope regularly showed up at the mine and as far as I know, in 19 years, none managed to get run over. There was more wildlife at the mine than in many other areas. You have appear to have a very poor understanding of mining and wildlife. I have pictures and observations over 19 years to back my claim.

            As far as wildlife adapting, again this year we had red-tailed hawks nesting on our outhouse roof at our cabin. We are generally only there in the late spring through fall and they nest early spring. My husband visited earlier this year. There were three fledglings in June this year. I have photos. I can link.

          • “There was more wildlife at the mine than in many other areas.”

            Is your nearby mine open pit or underground? There’s just a slight difference. Almost no coal is mined underground these days, its not cost competitive with open pit mining.

          • Philip said “large open pit” so that is what I addressed. I am fully aware of what is going on in coal mining.

            There is still an underground coal mine in Rock Springs, Wy. Powder River is all open pit as are all others in Wyoming.

          • Seriously, is there a credible paper linking avian deaths to mercury mobilized during coal burning? Reference? Geoff

          • I doubt you would recognize a rabbit hole or reality if it smacked you upside the head. Really, such love and worship of an idea.

          • Both Ryan and Chris would make great detectives. They find a dead woman in a house where her known murdering boyfriend just moved in, and assume the killing was “random violence”.

          • They’d actually believe a computer model that shows the woman isn’t dead over their lying eyes that see her corpse right in front of them.

  16. Were the bird populations they studied totally static, or do they move around according to the time of year following food and water availability? Were the surveys done at the same time of year?
    Bird ‘sinks’ can absorb birds from a much wider area than the notional area of the sink, especially where birds are territorial, as they will move into vacant territories then ‘poof’ they are gone. The only uncertainty is whether they are raw or roasted, depending on the nature of the sink.

    • Birds fly because evolution showed them how to move away from threats and towards breeding comfort. Geoff

  17. “The common raven was the only native species to substantially increase across survey sites.”

    And…what do ravens eat?

    There aren’t nearly enough bird zappers or flappers to create a change as described. The ravens however, could do it.

    https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/common_raven/lifehistory

    “Common Ravens will eat almost anything they can get hold of. They eat carrion; small animals from the size of mice and baby tortoises up to adult Rock Pigeons and nestling Great Blue Herons; eggs; grasshoppers, beetles, scorpions, and other arthropods; fish; wolf and sled-dog dung; grains, buds, and berries; pet food; and many types of human food including unattended picnic items and garbage.”

    Eggs. Huh. Think that might be a problem?

    And how is it they suddenly can survive where formerly they could not?

    “Human presence has allowed ravens to expand into areas where they didn’t previously occur, such as using artificial ponds and irrigation to survive in deserts…”

    Well, well, well. Geddit?

    The bird species are decreasing not because of putative ‘climate change’ and ‘drying” but because people are providing them the Ravens with water. The expansion of a water-needy scavenger bird is a Great Big Fat Clue that the desert regions are not getting hotter and drier because of AG CO2, but because an intelligent predator with a taste for eggs has been given water by humans.

    Berkeley, thine ideological possession defeats thee.

    • “Human presence has allowed ravens to expand into areas where they didn’t previously occur, such as using artificial ponds and irrigation to survive in deserts”

      This is true in the “Channel Islands” and many other places but from the paper “85% of desert lands in this region are largely undisturbed and ecologically intact”. So they can have an impact, but not a significant one here according to the researcher who fortunately is a Professor of Conservation Biology, so they probably thought of that.
      http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/07/31/1805123115

      • So we appeal to authority, a piece of paper with what meaning? He paid enough to get the degree. Show me being a professor means he is infallible, honest and trustworthy. Otherwise, I DO NOT CARE. His lack of honesty and towing the political line say more about his lack of character.

  18. And the prize for the big elephant in the room blindness goes to,,………

    Kelly J. Iknayan and Steven R. Beissinger
    PNAS August 6, 2018

    Disgusting dishonest people.

      • There are a hundred other places in this thread where myself and a small number of others have politely asked this sort of question. Confronted with an unsupported, usually silly and often extreme claim, the question has to be asked.
        What is your evidence?

        But sure enough… crickets again, it’s usually the only honourable reply.

        Of the millions of individual birds of 43% species that have disappeared, how many:
        1. Were nowhere near any faciltiy (85% of the study areas were undisturbed)?
        2. Were ground-dwelling or non-migratory species in no danger of flying into trouble?
        3. Where are the “actual” body counts? Where are the photos of the thousands, millions of bird carcasses? Searching reveals a few examples, incredibly few.

        Without evidence the only fallback left is to attack the researchers. Trained field researchers, each obviously with a passion for wildlife – otherwise they wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing, must have either:
        1. Missed the evidence through incompetence or
        2. Made up their findings after three years of research.

        We are being asked to swallow all that on faith…. and so many do, without bothering to read any further. http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/07/31/1805123115

        They do kill a few birds, a few too many. But if your real concern is birds and more importantly the health and viability of their habitats, then renewable energy generation sites are the least of your issues.

        Birds don’t appear to be Worrel’s concern. He’ll shamelessly keep using bird-chopper like a little catch-phrase while the vast majority meet their end in entirely different ways. His concern is political: how to throw mud hoping some sticks and so to have the gullible and the lazy tilting at windmills. Science, evidence, truth, meh.

        • RyanS

          1. Missed the evidence through incompetence or
          2. Made up their findings after three years of research.

          This is a straw man, Ryan, you offer two unreasonable options. The more likely explanation for the decrease of some species and the rapid spread of a new predator is…the new predator. Think island birds, rats, and cats.

  19. Random thoughts….

    What exactly are ‘desert birds’?
    Are we talking songbirds (sparrows & finches) or bigger ground nesters which in the UK would be green-plovers, oyster-catchers, curlew, grouse etc or are we talking big raptors?

    The guy mentions ‘over the last century’ so that rules out renewable energy installations.
    (If you do have a brain-dead thuggish and burning urge to simply beat the shit out of something or somebody, take it down the gym OK)

    The guy tells us that the birds are always ‘living on the edge’ and that near the centre (presumably) there are fewer birds.
    Does that not mean that the ‘edge’ is advancing into new ground? IOW: the desert is getting bigger?
    What was there previously, what was on the space that the desert was moving into?
    Not farmland by any chance?
    BTW – where does this put the much hyped (around here) Global Greening?

    We’re told that the ravens are doing OK.
    The guy obviously left his brain in neutral as that one observation trashes his theory – was there anything wrong in going to find out *why* the ravens are OK and ‘most everyone else is not?
    The ravens would get fat feasting on the ground nesters eggs & chicks, as would the raptors.

    IOW This is more Junk Science. Save your breath. Life’s too short.
    Possibly, *do* go get a life – go out there yourself and take a look & walk around?

    • “that one observation trashes his theory” “Junk Science”

      It was a bird survey Peta. Lead by a professor of conservation biology. 43% of species were missing. Life was obviously too short for them too.

      ” ravens would get fat”

      You reached your prognosis before or after having read the paper?

      • RyanS

        How can one take a “study” seriously when it concludes that reduced bird numbers are solely due to a singe cause – climate change? Search for the words “turbines” or “solar” in the original paper and one will search in vain. Any serious scientific paper would have mentioned both of these well-documented causes of numerous bird deaths, if only to dismiss the possibility that either or both had played a part in decreasing bird numbers in the Mohave.

        • “it concludes that reduced bird numbers are solely due to a singe cause”

          No it doesn’t.

          “major drivers of systemic biodiversity loss—disease, pollution, overexploitation, and habitat destruction—are operating in the Mojave. Invasive plants are in the Mojave…”

          • “habitat destruction” means WIND TURBINES AND SOLAR PANELS.

            So who is it exactly who is killing these birds?????

          • sand sickness, the place is literally littered with sand. everybody abuses the sand and destroys it. and worst of all- something came and started growing there.

      • “43% of the species were missing” Translation: Those !*#!@( birds are not where they demand they be, so they must be dead. Only fools think this way.

          • Yes, the common response “you don’t know how it works” because I disagree with you. One of the weakest responses out there and fully indicative of someone who cannot back their argument so assume anyone who disagrees knows nothing.

          • Not at all. You dismissed the way the researchers carried out their bird counts (over a 3 year period, involving 61 sites) without even reading the paper. This is your quote ““43% of the species were missing” Translation: Those !*#!@( birds are not where they demand they be, so they must be dead. Only fools think this way.”

          • The study provided zero evidence that the birds were dead. Zero. The birds were simply not there. Again, you keep arguing there were no bodies. Therefore, the birds are not dead.

  20. I bet that if a rodent and ground hunting species count was made, you would find an increase.

    This would account for the loss of ground dwelling birds.

    The gain in rodent and ground hunters would come about because of the loss of aerial hunters due to roasting and shredding.

    The delicate balance has been upset.

    But the environMENTALists don’t care, so long as they can have their wind and solar farms

        • I didn’t do the research Patrick. But thats the beauty of it: if someone else does and systematically reaches a logical conclusion, and if peer-review finds it to be sound, it saves me the trouble. So my question to Fred was rhetorical.

          • You trust peer-review in climate science? If you took the trouble you would see “climate science” is anything but science.

          • How does your knowledge of physics allow you to dismiss out of hand a paper on bird populations where the authors spent 3 years counting bird populations at multiple desert sites?

          • Counting birds we may trust. Attribution of cause—not a chance in this case. A scientist knows the difference between the two. True believers and political advocates count on that willful ignorance to push the lies.

          • It explains why the emissions of CO2 from human activities cannot drive climate to change in a bad way as is claimed and modeled.

          • Of course, even if it’s completely illogical and not supportable, fools will believe it because of “peer review”. Yep, people are dumb as they were in the past with the medicine shows and alchemists. No ability to think whatsoever……

          • Ahh, yes, a vaguely worded dismissal of 3 years or work. No explanation given, just the usual hand waving. No ability to think whatsoever……

          • Really? You have no ability to think? That’s obvious. I gave a perfectly good answer and you blew it off. You worhsip peer review and global warming, so no argument matters whatsoever. Speaking of hand waving, you get the trophy for the greatest ability to just dimiss realtiy when it does not suit you.

          • No, you didn’t give a good answer. You dismissed their attribution without providing any supporting evidence. Your explanation was “not a chance.” That’s as vague as it gets.

          • It was they who provided NO evidence. Again, fools never understand that the study writer has the burden of proof. It’s a mental deficiency, so far as I can tell. That, and zero understanding of science.

            They provided no evidence that turbines and solar did not affect the birds, attributed “some” change to other items but failed to indicate how much each contributed (along with the actual math used to arrive at those conclusions), and zero evidence that the climate had changed. The landscape changed, yes. But no evidence whatsoever of the climate changing. They failed.

          • You keep saying turbines, except there aren’t any in the Mojave desert areas that were part of this study. Major fail.

            They provided evidence of changes in precipitation and temperature. That’s climate.

          • Ravens require more water and lower temperatures than the displaced birds. The “climate change” explanation seems weak based on the evidence presented.

          • I am a peer reviewer for multiple journals so I can confirm how dodgy peer reviews can be. Some editors ignore advice from reviewers. Many reviewers are lazy. Many are good. Most are biased in favour of their pet theories. Few are willing to approve papers that contradict them emphatically.

  21. Ravens are not a desert species. Their increasing numbers mean the Mojave is becoming greener not hôtter or dryer.

    The researchers failed to ask the most interesting and obvious question. How can ravens live in a desert. Did the ravens change or did the desert change.

    • No, CO2 changed from a guess of ~280ppm/v before the industrial revolution to an actual measure of 410ppm/v in 2018. See the science trick there?

          • Yes, how? And also why you call it a “science trick”. Are you saying someone is being tricky as in deceptive?

          • You don’t know the difference between an estimate and a measure? Dictionary.com may help.

            With regards to my “science trick”, was tongue in cheek. I was thinking of Phil Jones and his comment about Mike’s (Mann) “nature trick”.

    • Well actually the common raven is quite diverse, ranging from the high Arctic to the desert southwest. These surveys were all conducted from May-August when the common raven typically would have shifted north though they are not truly migratory.

      So unless ravens eat CO2 or climate change itself, there has to be an explanation for why there are more there now than the earlier surveys. These desert birds are almost completely dependent on their food as a source of water so their “conclusion” is contradictory to the data. The way to explain this using their data is that it is cooler/wetter during the survey summers than the early surveys, or there is simply more food (neither quite fit the narrative).

      After looking at the methodology, I’ll go with Occam’s Razor, the statistically adjusted data based on models of the recent surveys are junk. There are just as many ravens and other bird species in the extant wild areas of the Mojave now than there were 100 years ago.

  22. Proof that academics will prostitute themselves for a buck. Any intelligent human being would see immediately that the bird choppers and fryers are most likely the reason. What a bunch of illegitimate pretend scientists. (Of course, the wind and solar people refused a study of before and after populations, I’m sure, because their lies would be exposed.)

    Any intelligent person would go with a physical, verified cause instead of a pretend cause shown by an imaginary cause modeled on a computer. What does that tell you?

    • “Any intelligent human being would see immediately that the bird choppers and fryers are most likely the reason”

      Intelligent humans can be fooled Sheri, where are the bodies? 43% whole species have completely disappeared. You can bet some of the other remnant species aren’t doing that well either (perhaps except the ravens). That is a large number of birds, many of them nowhere near these facilities. Many of them ground-dwelling, in no danger of flying into something. Gone.
      There should be photos of piles of dead birds, there aren’t.

      “most likely the reason”… unless you spend a few minutes thinking it through, crunching some numbers and reading some of the research paper. Then you realise it is baloney.

      • I addressed that before—on private land, the bodies can be disposed of. Many, many installations are off limits to citizens, so how hard is it to dispose of bodies????

        I realize you are baloney, yes. I have researched for over a decade and live among these horrid monstrosities that you love to destroy the environment with (but rarely, if ever, actually live among). Unlike you, I actually care about the planet and what greedy, bad people are doing to it under a near religious belief in a myth. Hatred of the planet is widespread today, in the name of greed and control. You have joined the hate side.

        • “how hard is it to dispose of bodies????”

          But where are photos? There should be millions of them. Bodies in little piles, bodies in little holes too I suppose if they’re being disposed of. Photos of mass killings – burnt feathers flying everywhere. You have seen them right?

          • You really have no contact with reality. Have you ever seen a wind plant???? Fences all around, off limits to people other than the owners?

            Have you ever heard of scavengers? It appears you have not. I had a fawn deer die in my yard one year and it was dragged off overnight. Out of a fenced yard.

            I suppose if one cared in the least about climate change and wind worshipper’s delusions, one could invest in a drone with a camera, until run off the installation by a shotgun toting wind defender, but I hate guns pointed at me, so I am not volunteering. Even then, I suspect you would say I faked the pictures, so why bother? You have a religious faith in these things and facts are irrelevant.

          • So you have been reading the Troll Manual™ I see used in the comment sections on political news sites. How quaint. I always assumed if you sank to that level, you had zero cognitive skills.

          • There are several of dead raptors and one or two odd videos of actual strikes, but there seems to be a lack of any hard evidence for the wiping out of the purported thousands.
            I’m not suggesting you take the photos I’m just asking if you’ve seen any?

          • “evidence of wrong”
            Are talking about the photos of 20 dead birds?
            You seem so convinced, but my farm isn’t near a turbine and 20 dead birds is not evidence of thousands. Do you have any other evidence?

          • You really are that dumb, aren’t you?
            (Note: I read the Troll Manual™ too and am very familiar with the techniques used by those who advocate for things they do not understand. Asking the same questions over and over just shows one’s lack of intelligence, irregardless of what the manual says.)

          • Again, Troll Manual™ 101. A silly technique showcasing one’s ignorance while thinking they appear intelligent. I provide evidence. You do not.

          • These types of people have spent very little time in nature. They typically live in concrete jungles and read about how nature is being destroyed from their armchair.

          • Right, Robert. I grew up in the PNW, hundreds of hikes and backpacking trips, both sea kayaking and whitewater kayaking, as well as winter sports. 10 years of competitive sailing, both lake and saltwater.

          • Lol.. Sheri!

            “I could give you the evidence to to support my claims if i wanted to. I just don’t want to!”

  23. Do they have any actual studies that show that the climate of the desert has changed? Or is it just that models say the deserts should have changed, therefore they did.

  24. This is typical Art major pseudoscience biology. Typical junk statistics include:
    “Coefficients of community-level persistence probability from a dynamic multispecies occupancy model”
    “Relationship of climate change, recent weather, and habitat change to community-level persistence probability with 95% credible intervals”
    “Historic and modern species occupancy probabilities and site richness for the Mojave avian community over the past century.”

    Actual quantitative data and scientific analyses: NA.

    • Junk science on steroids:
      “Impact of imperfect detection on findings
      Differences in detectability over time can have a major
      confounding effect on revisitation studies of species
      occurrence. In this study, detectability of bird species
      substantially increased over a century coincident with
      changes in survey methodology and dissemination of
      field-based ornithological knowledge. Analyses accounting
      for detectability demonstrated a decrease in species
      richness, while those that did not indicated an increase in
      richness over time. While the difference in detectability
      observed over time in this study may be substantial due
      to the nature of historical survey data, there is strong
      evidence that surveyors benefit from experience (Sauer et
      al. 1994) and are biased by previous species encounters
      at a site (Riddle et al. 2010). Consequently, even surveys
      conducted by the same observer five or 10 years apart
      are not immune from temporal changes in detectability.
      For these reasons, studies of community properties
      should account for imperfect detection and allow
      detection probabilities to vary by species, survey, and
      over time. To date, no other studies of climate change
      impacts on species richness have done so. Trends from
      observed data showing richness declines, even when
      nonparametric richness estimators are used (Moritz et
      al. 2008), may be more severe than previously estimated.
      Additionally, observed richness increases may obscure
      true decreases. Hierarchical community occupancy
      models (Dorazio and Royle 2005, Dorazio et al. 2006)
      provide a strong, flexible framework within which to
      estimate the processes which obscure true occupancy.
      Continuing to advance methods of accounting for
      detectability will be critical for conservation as we use
      ever more diverse baseline sources of data to understand
      temporal changes in the natural world.”

      • In other words, they are saying that the actual scientists surveying in the early 20th century were dumb and didn’t know how to see a bird or count, and we’re super smart now, so we need to take the actual data and put it into a model to adjust it to what it really should be. Climate science!

  25. For the benefit of Chris and Ryan, who apparently have zero understanding of wildlife, “where are the corpses” answer:
    Now, squimish people should stop reading here (assuming squimish people read WUWT).

    True stories from prairie dog shooting:
    You can shoot a hundred or more prairie dogs, return the next day and there are generally less than 5 bodies to be found, if that many. Prairie dogs are cannibals and drag the dead into the burrow. Then there are the hawks that sit back and wait for the shooting to stop (I have photos of this). They wait until you move back far enough for them to be comfortable, then move in to feed.

    Now, using Chris and Ryan’s logic, my answer to those who object to prairie dog shooting is “Where are the bodies?” According to Chris and Ryan’s logic, the shooting never occurred because there are no dead bodies.

  26. Hmmm. Wasn’t it concern over bird-populations that led to the DDT ban?
    And the death toll there was…

  27. Why not just use the Audubon Society annual bird count performed every December in that region. Graph that vs. year over the last 40 years and indicate on the graph when construction of the solar electric generation was completed?

    • Oh, I forgot. This study was to support the summer camping trip for researchers Kelly J. Iknayan and Steven R. Beissinger at federal grant money expense.

  28. Of course bird numbers are decreasing because of “Global Warming”.
    Without caGW, there’d be no need to build all those bird swatters and fryers.
    (Maybe Colonel Sanders is behind it?)
    We must keep Nature from changing whatever the cost!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (Damn! I lost my sarc tag again.)

  29. Desert birds are living on the edge so it doesn’t take much flight feather scorching or eye impairment from the solar plant mirror arrays to put them over the edge. The damn installations look like WATER from far away because, other than a tar pit, a body of water is the only natural thing that reflects blue sky. What could look more inviting to a desert bird than spotting a lake only 10 miles away?

    The birds getting scorched to the point of being forced down near the array are a minor number compared to those that stayed closer to the perimeter and flew away seemingly unaffected.

    Those are likely a much larger number that were compromised and destined to die maybe days later and miles from the facility from exhaustion or inability to navigate/forage due to retinal damage.

    They should fly drones at the same speed as a bird through the light field at locations of various amounts of light concentration equipped with sensors and some feathers to examine what happens to them microscopically – feathers have interlocking hooks (barbules) that must be able to re-engage each other if separated. These are tiny filaments that wouldn’t require much heat to distort and not work anymore. The bird might seem just fine but after several days there would be more and more rips that won’t reconnect requiring more and more effort to fly leading to exhaustion.

    The problems that can be caused by vision impairment don’t need explanation. Their eyesight has to be perfect to spot food, the slightest compromise probably means starvation.

    (I surmised that this decline could happen two years ago – https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/08/03/usgs-releases-bird-and-insect-incineration-footage-from-ivanpah-solar-electric-facility/#comment-1833188 ) I just don’t trust big green to care about the birds let alone admit they are responsible so I’m not surprised that they would automatically blame warming for the population decline. If these ugly monstrosities are causing that decline they have to be torn DOWN!

  30. Considering there hasn’t been much in the way of climate change at all in the USA, away from the big cities, it seem to me it is bogus of the study to immediately blame the problem on climate change. There is likely to be a wide range of possible causes e.g pesticides, aquifer drawdown due to water extraction, overgrazing and introduced or feral species.
    I see too that the editor was one Paul R Ehrlich.

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