Study: Wind Farms Kill Off 75% Of Buzzards, Hawks And Kites That Live Nearby

Wind turbines are the world’s new ‘apex predators’, wiping out buzzards, hawks and other carnivorous birds at the top of the food chain, say scientists.

A study of wind farms in India found that predatory bird numbers drop by three quarters in areas around the turbines.

This is having a ‘ripple effect’ across the food chain, with small mammals and reptiles adjusting their behaviour as their natural predators disappear from the skies.

Birds and bats were assumed to be most vulnerable to the rise of the landscape-blotting machines.

But their impact is reverberating across species, experts warned, upsetting nature’s delicate balance.

Wind turbines are the world’s new ‘apex predators’, wiping out eagles, hawks and other carnivorous birds at the top of the food chain, say scientists

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru studied lizard and bird populations at three wind turbine sites in the Western Ghats.

They found almost four times fewer buzzards, hawks and kites in areas with wind farms – a loss of about 75 per cent.

In areas without turbines around 19 birds were spotted every three hours, while nearer to the machines this number dropped to around five.

This led to an abundance of the fan-throated lizard, a species only found on the Indian sub continent and a favourite snack of the predatory birds.

The reptile also had lower levels of the stress hormone corticosterone and this changed how it lived.

For instance, humans were able to get much closer than usual before they ran off, as without predatory birds around, they had become less fearful.

The analysis has implications for wind farms all over the globe – including Britain, where the top predators include many birds of prey such as owls and eagles.

Study coauthor Professor Maria Thaker said: ‘We have known from many studies that wind farms affect birds and bats.

‘They kill them and disrupt their movement. But we took that one step further and discovered that it affects lizards too.

‘Every time a top predator is removed or added, unexpected effects trickle through the ecosystem.

Researchers  studied lizard and bird populations at three wind turbine sites in India's Western Ghats. They found almost four times fewer buzzards, hawks and kites in areas with wind farms - a loss of about 75 per cent (file photo)

‘What is actually happening here is the wind-turbines are akin to adding a top predator to the ecosystem.’

The study published in Nature Ecology and Evolution compared populations of raptors and lizards on a plateau that has had a wind farm for around 20 years to an adjacent valley that has no turbines.

It also took blood samples from 144 lizards captured on the two locations in the northern area of the mountain range.

Wind turbines are known to kill large birds, such as golden eagles.

A recent study by an international team of scientists found the decline of apex predators is ‘arguably humankind’s most pervasive influence on the natural world.’

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150 thoughts on “Study: Wind Farms Kill Off 75% Of Buzzards, Hawks And Kites That Live Nearby

  1. In the UK the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) is fully supportive of wind farms (it has its own subsidised wind turbine), except when it’s not fully supportive of wind farms. It is supportive of these bird chompers because wind farms will stop global warming, which is the biggest threat to birds (according to the idiots at RSPB).

  2. I’ve heard from a Dutch friend that the Herring catch is up around 7% as offshore turbines chop up sea birds and the fish obtain a food source that formerly was not available to them. I cautioned him that correlation is not necessarily causation and he replied that causation requires correlation, and offered me a fresh herring to eat.

    Yum!

    • A bribe?

      Good anecdotal information, though knocking off the marine birds is not a benefit.
      Seal populations will grow. Polar bear populations will grow…

  3. ‘The study published in Nature Ecology and Evolution compared populations of raptors and lizards on a plateau that has had a wind farm for around 20 years to an adjacent valley that has no turbines.’

    I am no fan of wind turbines,but I think one has to be careful here, there are other possible causes for the reduced numbers, the paper assumes no difference in population between hilltop and valley before the wind turbines were built. The raptors may also have adapted and avoid the wind turbines.One also has to consider what happens to the distribution of the overall population when one area becomes ‘free’. I would have thought that the tendency would be for the overall distribution to remain the same, but numbers reduce overall. As with a lot of these ‘scientific’ papers that are published and jumped on by lobbies wishing to support their case, they tend to be too narrow in focus and fail to take an holistic approach to the findings.

    Are we being as critical of this paper as we would be when it would take the opposite view?
    I have no doubt that siting is crucial to the amount of birds/bats killed by wind turbines, and sitings such as this one should never have been allowed in the first place. But it would be wrong to assume that all sites are going to give the same results.

    • Your criticism is not without merit, however what you need to keep in mind is this: Windmills are part of a costly NON-solution to a NON-problem. If we weren’t needlessly building them, we wouldn’t needlessly be killing birds, including magnificent raptors, and bats, and thereby, ironically, doing much more REAL damage to the “ecosystem” than all the IMAGINARY harm CO2 could ever cause.

      • Yes, since the neighborhood cat lady moved away, I’ve been swamped by passerines. Can’t wait for useless and expensive windmills to go away. My hydro bill went from $110 every two months to $210 a month on the smart meter under the Ontario Green Energy Plan. We voted the Liberals out but it took 15 years for the public mind to wake up.

      • Are you implying that energy from fossil fuels is more efficiently produced than energy from Wind?

        If you are, I suggest you look at the levelized cost of energy for Wind, vs coal, natural gas, etc; including the tax credits.

        https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/pdf/electricity_generation.pdf

        per this US Govt. document, wind costs $37 per MWh with a tax credit of ~$11 — CC and Advanced CC are $48 (which is the same as 37+11) — nothing else comes close

        Even counting tax credits, onshore wind is cheaper than every single fossil fuel other than Combined Cycle — which it is at Parity with

        Perhaps you should complain to your utility that seems to be giving you the shaft ..

    • Paul, I think the acceptance is because the findings are no surprise at all. Predatory birds generally fly a long way as they hunt and they make a huge use of the constant prevailing winds to help them fly. Wind farms are sited where there is a constant prevailing wind and so are right in the flight path of the birds.

      Reduced numbers could be due to a number of factors, but let’s consider the two (probably) main ones. Numbers are reduced by the birds and bats being killed OR by them now avoiding the area. Number two is a slow killer the animals are now flying much further to feed and are therefore more tired than before, this makes them less effective as a predator. The area denial also means they are now hunting in areas where other already hunt putting excess pressure on the food supply in those areas.

      This is just basic logic and common sense, hence the findings are more easily accepted.

    • I’ll guess that nobody here has read the actual paper in Nature because all of the “facts” in this (above) article are wrong but there’s no indication (I might have missed something) that ANY of you are aware or (as you should be doing) objecting to the horribly faulty description of the paper here. For example, nowhere in the Nature paper is it said that 75% of buzzards, hawks and kites are killed. NOWHERE!

      FYI:This outs y’all as lazy dummies. Your first step, before formulating an opinion, should be to READ THE GD PAPER!
      Check it out :
      https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-018-0707-z.epdf
      Seems that readers here don’t bother with the actual science. No wonder that only loonies are buying what you’re selling.

      (This is your FIRST comment, while you insult many here (some are actual scientists or have a science degree) with it, will approve it anyway for the exposure)MOD

  4. Anthony, good story and in-line with my own personal observations. I managed a uranium insitu-leach exploration project NE of Casper, Wyoming, and the project area was crossed by lines of very large wind turbines. When you stood underneath the turbines, especially before the daily clean-up crew arrived, you readily saw dead and mangled birds. I personally saw a golden eagle, several buzzards, and a wide variety of small hawks, along with a general assortment of local smaller birds. I cannot think of any other industry that is permitted to continue with this level of wildlife carnage. Again, anyone interested in this theme, no matter on what side you think you are, should go and stand underneath one of these choppers and see for themselves what the reality is.

    • Ron Long
      November 6, 2018 at 1:50 am

      Yes, and what would the penalty be if one of those large birds had died on a mine tailings dam?

      • Been there and done that, Alastair. As part of the Technical Advisory Team for Pegasus Gold with regularly worked with wildlife officials on how to A. prevent wildlife deaths, and 2. preserve the dead ones we encountered for viewing and verification of cause of death by wildlife officials. One year at Florida Canyon gold mine in Nevada we had one bird found dead on the berm around a pregnant cyanide pond, cause unknown. The bird was frozen in the refrigerator of the mess hall for more than a month waiting for wildlife officials to view it. Prevention of wildlife deaths at facilities utilizing cyanide solutions started with playing loud rock music (Twisted Sister!) and progressed to total physical barrier, which included bird nets, which actually worked. Hard to imagine bird nets around these wind turbines.

      • Exactly!
        Or by Diclofenac.
        From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_vulture_crisis
        “The drug is fatal to vultures, however, and a vulture is exposed to a mortal dose of diclofenac if it eats from the carcass of an animal that has been treated with diclofenac recently. … The populations of the Indian vulture (Gyps indicus) and the slender-billed vulture (Gyps tenuirostris) fell 97.4%.”

        • Looked specifically for this post to reference to. That wonderful antibiotic used in Indian cattle (which baffles me as you can’t eat Indian cattle so was it used in buffalo?) that followed the removal of fresh rape seed oil ground in situ and its substitution by preserved dead vegetable oil on the grocery shelves, and now the co-opting of the Indian farmer’s rented land for chicken raising, all sources of that fabulous ‘new market’ myth of capitalism, doomed to destroy India, in spite of having the greatest coal reserves.
          Any research in coal burning?

    • On eclipse day 2017 I drove past the windfarm south of Casper. Not a single one rotating. On the way back 6 hrs later, maybe 10 were moving. I am astounded that people think these are the solution to their energy problems. They are just blind to the fact that a parallel universe of (coal, gas, nuclear?) power plants are required. …transition to all green power plants? Jeez. I am surely not the only one who notices this non sequitor.

    • Note actual data:

      http://www.sibleyguides.com/conservation/causes-of-bird-mortality/

      Note the relative contribution of wind turbines to windows, powerlines, high tension wires, feral cats, and motor vehicles.

      Wind turbine mortality is well down within the noise level of the known causes of bird deaths in the developed world.

      These ridiculous charges that wind turbines are major bird killers never dies, despite all the data in the world that says it’s not true.

      You can dislike wind turbines for any number of reasons, but major bird killers, nope.

      • Duane You need to review the article. Raptors and larger birds are seldom killed by windows, and feral cats. In fact the raptors often prey on cats so that a reduction in raptors will leave more feral cats available to prey on songbirds.

        The actual data: Note that the chart is dated 2003 prepared from data prior to that year; when we perhaps had only 10% of current wind turbines. In the meantime, the turbines have become larger, and the tips are traveling at much higher speeds.
        “Wind turbines may kill 33,000 birds per year, and, as in the case of electrocutions, these birds tend to be large and scarce (e.g. raptors). …….
        It’s difficult for an environmentalist to come out against renewable energy like wind turbines, but as long as the electricity generated is considered a “supplement” to satisfy increasing demand, wind power will not really help the fight against global warming. Establishment of wind farms should go hand-in-hand with drastic cuts in electricity use, and there is a real need for more study of the relationship between birds and wind farms.”

        Much more confidence in recent info as from Ron Long above.

      • That study does not break out the birds by size and/or type. I think you would find that the larger raptors and such are mostly not being killed by cats or by running into windows. This is where the real concern lies. Also, that study is based on 2003 data. There are a lot more wind turbines in operation today so you can’t really say that the “Wind turbine mortality is well down within the noise level of the know causes of bird deaths in the developed world” with any credibility.

        • Raptors ARE frequently killed by collisions with buildings, power lines, and motor vehicles. I could have produced numerous other links here showing actual data to that effect.

          Note that the study described in this post only says that raptors tend to have fewer numbers near windmills.

          Well, duh!

          Also, numerous studies also show that there are far fewer numbers of raptors in city centers, or along major high voltage power line corridors, and along major freeways too. Again, equally “Duh!”.

          Listen, I am and always have been a AGW skeptic. I am also an engineer, who does development projects of various kinds, where environmental impacts are routinely studied, with actual data collected and evaluated, and actual risk assessments, involving scientific analyses of quantifiable environmental, industrial, and human health risk.

          I keep telling this to the skeptics – don’t go where science does not take you. When you bring up non-data based arguments based in emotion or deceptive statistics (just like the deceptive stats in this post), you are doing exactly what the warmists do when they flog photos of diseased polar bears and pretend that means global warming is killing them off.

          Science is still science, facts are still facts. There are many good arguments against subsidized wind energy projects … but bird killing is just BS.

      • Go see for yourself . Windows , power lines , feral cats and motor vehicles kill DAMN FEW raptors .
        Wind turbines DO kill many !

        • No – power lines, buildings with and without windows, and motor vehicles kill many many many more raptors than to windmills.

          Raptors will go where they can easily feed at relatively low risk to themselves … hanging around windmills is not where to find food and survive.

          Again. read the actual words in the study described in the post. It does not describe actual killings of raptors … it says there are fewer numbers of raptors around windmills, again, “Duh!” Just like there aren’t many raptors hanging about the 405 freeway in downtown LA either. The raptors fine little prey on concrete overpasses and roadways, and it’s damned dangerous for the birds. So they go where the food is and they don’t get hit.

          Very very very misleading study .. a BS study if ever … just like the warmist studies you love to hate that also are misleading.

          Bad science is still bad science, no matter what the scientists are trying to prove, or whose “side” they’re on. Of course real science doesn’t take sides or express BS.

        • They don’t “hang around” the windmills. They’re using prevailing winds to travel between their nests and favored hunting spots, so they can save energy by doing more gliding and less wingbeating. Wind turbines are placed to take advantage of prevailing winds, putting them directly in the raptors daily commute.

          Try again.

      • Go see for yourself . Windows , power lines , feral cats and motor vehicles kill DAMN FEW raptors .
        Wind turbines DO kill many !
        And your source has NO data , just ” estimates ” Did you even read it ?

      • Your “data” is more along the lines of that old adage, “Figures don’t lie but liars figure.”

        Concealing the inconvenient truth of high mortality of “birds of prey” encountering wind turbine blades by burying their numbers in the millions killed by things like cats and window strikes is simply dishonest. Large birds of prey are far fewer in numbers than birds of “all” varieties, and the unnecessary killing of them by unnecessary non-solutions to non-problems (aka “windmills”) is a travesty.

      • AND Duane, Potential wind turbine exposure worldwide is down there with Small Pox or Polio
        World wide…
        How many miles of power lines? (Hundreds of millions of miles)
        How many Feral Cats? (More than 600M cats globally and could be over a Billion)
        How many windows? (likely hundreds of Trillions NYC has 781 Million alone)
        How many motor vehicles? (1.2 – 1.7 Billion)
        How many Wind Turbines 400,000 or less than 0.1% of Power Line Miles or 0.025% of motor vehicles OR 0.000000004% as many windows

        E X P O S U R E

      • Cars are a significant contributor to raptor deaths in my area. Wish that weren’t true. Where I live, in the Santa Ynez Valley, dead hawks along the roads are sadly common. At night, a mouse scurries out in front of a moving car, in swoops a hawk, and blammo, one less hawk. I’m no fan of windmills for power production, but it would be naive to say automobiles are not a significant contributor to dead Hawk numbers.

        • If the Global number of Autos were equal to the Global number of Wind Turbines, Wind Turbine caused bird deaths would vastly outnumber those from Autos

          • I’ve been driving since I was 16. Friday I turn 56. 40 years of driving (over a million miles) and I have yet to strike a bird or bat. (I did hit one cat though)

          • In my 30 years of driving I’ve killed at least a dozen smaller birds.

            Likely an owl or large raptor — hit it going about 70mph and it bounced somewhere off the freeway.

            4 Deer

            2 Dogs
            multiple rabbits and squirrels

      • Duane,

        Some of those are not actual data, but extrapolations. In any case, they are hopelessly out of date.

        The most comprehensive study of wind turbine bird slaughter was in 2013:

        https://naturalreactions.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/estimating-the-extent-of-fatal-bird-collisions-with-wind-turbines/

        It found far more avian mortality–140,000 to 328,000 birds per annum–just for the US than shown in the graph from your link for all of North America. Even the upper end of that is probably too low. Another paper found over 573,000 birds killed each year by wind turbines.

        Studies in Europe have found even higher fatality rates.

        Moreover, the turbines erected since 2003 have been taller, and the taller the deadlier, by far.

        So wind turbines can’t be dismissed as an insignificant cause of bird and bat mortality. This is especially true of endangered raptors.

        Even the little birds which hit windows often survive, unless killed by a cat while stunned unconscious.

      • My comment hasn’t yet appeared, but I’ll add that the range of bird deaths found in the study I cited would place wind turbines third behind the estimates in your link for cats and windows.

        • Note that the December 2013 study is for the contiguous US, not North America, as in the Sibley Guides graph:

          https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006320713003522

          Estimates of bird collision mortality at wind facilities in the contiguous United States

          Highlights

          We estimate bird mortality at monopole wind turbines in the contiguous U.S.


          Between 140,000 and 328,000 birds are killed annually at monopole turbines.


          Mortality increases with increasing height of monopole turbines.


          Mortality rates appear to be lower in the Great Plains relative to other regions.

          Abstract

          Wind energy has emerged as a promising alternative to fossil fuels, yet the impacts of wind facilities on wildlife remain unclear. Prior studies estimate between 10,000 and 573,000 fatal bird collisions with U.S. wind turbines annually; however, these studies do not differentiate between turbines with a monopole tower and those with a lattice tower, the former of which now comprise the vast majority of all U.S. wind turbines and the latter of which are largely being de-commissioned. We systematically derived an estimate of bird mortality for U.S. monopole turbines by applying inclusion criteria to compiled studies, identifying correlates of mortality, and utilizing a predictive model to estimate mortality along with uncertainty. Despite measures taken to increase analytical rigor, the studies we used may provide a non-random representation of all data; requiring industry reports to be made publicly available would improve understanding of wind energy impacts. Nonetheless, we estimate that between 140,000 and 328,000 (mean = 234,000) birds are killed annually by collisions with monopole turbines in the contiguous U.S. We found support for an increase in mortality with increasing turbine hub height and support for differing mortality rates among regions, with per turbine mortality lowest in the Great Plains. Evaluation of risks to birds is warranted prior to continuing a widespread shift to taller wind turbines. Regional patterns of collision risk, while not obviating the need for species-specific and local-scale assessments, may inform broad-scale decisions about wind facility siting.

          • Or, on average, around 1.2 birds and 2 bats per turbine tower per year. the .2 birds are the raptor kills.

          • IMO even the high estimate in the 2013 study was low then and is lower now.

            I’m surrounded by 15 wind farms with thousands of turbines. One of the three practically in my backyard was the largest in the world when built.

            No one counts the number of birds and bats killed, but when the project first started, Oregon’s then governor (Democrat, natch) was concerned about the effect of construction on red digger ground squirrels. No such worries now.

            Washington State permitted hundreds of turbines before Oregon got on the gravy train.

          • Bryan,

            In March 2014, about 47,000 wind turbines were installed in the US. If 328,000 birds were killed in 2013, that’s an average of some seven birds each that year. As below, IMO that’s an underestimate then and would be even higher now, as we have relatively more tall turbines.

            Add bats to the butcher’s bill. Recognize as well that endangered raptors and scavengers are disproportionately massacred by turbines, and the environmental consequences of uneconomical wind power become horrific.

          • And it’s a very crappy estimate,

            The SD if the numbers are 3 sigma is 1/8th of the Mean.

            That is a huge amount of uncertainty, meaning – crappy, shoddy, imprecise input =

            crappy estimate

        • My other two comments, with more statistics and studies, still haven’t emerged from cyberspace, where they might be permanently lost.

      • You deliberately conflate all birds with one subset of birds. You argue in bad faith, and the data is TBI. True But Irrelevant.

        Try again.

    • Aren’t wind turbine companies allowed to do their own bird and bat mortality counts? No government oversight on areas around wind turbines?

      Wind turbines are mostly on private property and without public access. Those who host wind turbines on their land have non-disclosure clauses in their contracts.

  5. Daily clean-up crew?
    I wonder if the wages of that crew are included in the published so-called running costs of these things.

    • Oldseadog, my use of “clean-up crew” was a bit snarky, actually they were the morning check every turbine crew, but they did pick up all readily visible dead birds and throw them in the back of their pickup, and I’m sure they did not store them for later inspection.

  6. One poster on the SMH website here in Aus recently stated that emissions of CO2 from energy production was killing more native wildlife than feral cats.

    The mind boggles!

  7. So the improbable may prove to be true. Global warming (or at least the irrational response to the mistaken belief therein) will lead to an explosion of the rat population!

    • “So the improbable may prove to be true”

      Only if we fail to act to stop ourselves acting before our actions cause the unthinkable to become thinkable, all too thinkable.

      Or in terms you’ll understand: he who fails to learn from the future is doomed to experience it.

      Or in terms only an academic could understand (because it’s innumerate nonsense): uncertainty is not our friend.

      To quote the Complete History of the Climate Debate, Part 2 (2019—distant future),

      2034
      Spring is silent this year after a wind turbine kills the last American bald eagle.

      Something tells me those who profess to “believe in science” will, however, ignore this unequivocal finding from the science of Forecasting the Facts.

      • The Church of Omnipotent Greenhouse in Carbon will no doubt decree that all extinct species were destroyed by carbon pollution and its many ripple effects, with the root cause being human overpopulation by the bourgois.
        Really quite predictable IMHO.

    • I”d be more impressed if an organization other than WHO actually documented the effects. Their record is rather spotty to say the least, particularly when there may be money involved somewhere.

    • PETER RESHETNIAK

      I’m not qualified to comment, but a quick read through the wind turbine section of the WHO report finds it’s littered with “No studies available” and “Low quality” studies”.

      That’s not to say it’s not a problem, just not a lot of work being done on it.

        • Brad Keyes

          Where did I say you’re “a born and bred German from Klimanürnberg?

          Your self belief in your rambling attempts at humour and artistic licence are something akin to, well…….dare I say it, ~whisper~ a journalist, novice of course.

          The gag had bombed (no pun intended or achieved) last time I told it, and the time before that, so I was hoping against hope—or against the definition of sanity, if you like—that someone would finally get it if I phrased it transparently enough:….

          Perhaps you might address your lousy prose, dire sense of humour and self infatuation before posting again.

          The /sarc tag was requested some years ago specifically to allow people like you to make daft comments they thought were funny, cryptic, or just plain stupid, but of course your over inflated ego leads you to assume you are universally understood and accepted as funny, so there’s no need for you to conform to convention.

          And whilst we’re on the subject of jumping to conclusions, my chosen title of HotScot reveals nothing about me, I am Chinese by birth, but then again, I might also be German from Klimanürnberg for all you know.

          And just to make you chuckle:

          After announcing he was getting married, a Scotsman announces proudly “I’ll be wearing The Kilt for the event” (as any proud Scot would). His best pal asks him “And what’s the Tartan?” he replies “Oh she’ll be wearing a white dress”.

        • Brad Keyes

          Just as a head’s up, as you’re keen to comment on the spelling and grammar of others, “so and sos” is probably better expressed as ‘so and so’s’ otherwise it looks like you’re crying for help.

          I wouldn’t want anyone else to pick you up on it and be cruel about it.

          You can thank me at the bar.

          🙂

          • Again with the grocer’s apostrophe. 🙂

            Listen, HotScot, we both know that if you could read as well as you write you’d have avoided the unenviable position of having to insist, with a straight face, that I’m an unfunny warmist [!] who doesn’t speak English.

            (No part of that is true—a reality most people here grasped years ago, literally, when I first started commenting.)

            Whatever face you think you’re saving by sticking to your delusory guns, forget about it. I release you from your obligation.

            We all misunderstand things. So you failed to notice the cornucopious comical clues in some long-forgotten comment by yours truly—big deal.

            So your reading-comprehension fail caused you to go off half-cocked, again and again, with increasingly laughable results—so what.

            Have the grace to laugh at yourself and move on, and you’ll find the rest of us are only too happy to move on too.

            Or prolong the needless fatuity.

            Your choice.

            PS some of your comments at WUWT are so insightful and well-informed, it’s hard to believe they’re by the same person “whose idea of funny seems to involve channeling an unfunny bore and boring me with diatribes against foreigners who think they’re funny,” or however I put it a couple of days ago. So I’d much rather we be allies than sparring partners.

  8. In order to save the birds I’ll take a coal power plant over a “wind farm.” Does that now make me an environmentalist?

    • You’ll first need to round up a few minor children of influential parents to sue the government over it. Then you might qualify.

  9. “They found almost four times fewer buzzards, hawks and kites in areas with wind farms”

    Arrgh. You cannot have ‘four times fewer’ birds.

    We need ‘four times less’ mistakes in the text.

      • Not necessarily. We asked our 12 yo grandson to meet us at “a quarter to six”. He had no idea what that meant. Better to use “75% fewer”.

    • It’s obvious, folks: ‘almost four times fewer than’ = ‘barely 25% as few as.’

      A number of people understand this perfectly.*

      Come back Stannis Baratheon, all is forgiven!

      *As in the inquisition of Lindsay Shepard [?] (“a number of students have complained”), it goes without saying that zero is a number, so nobody’s technically lying.

        • Actually, Crispin, in your (needless, but appreciated) comment setting me straight, I think you (almost) came up with the best possible phrasing of what the journalist was struggling to get across, or so one presumes:

          “just over 25% as many as”

          Any advances on that, anyone?

    • I was wondering where “times fewer” comes from. I think the premise is that every thing reported in the MSM must be bad (fewer) and getting worse (times fewer). The worst case is “one times fewer”. That means none left.

    • Yes, I’ve been peeved by that sort of stupid for some time now. “[more than 1 times]” ANYTHING is NOT smaller/less, it’s larger/more.

        • Bravo for being hyper technical. But I’ve never seen that type of verbiage used with “negative numbers,” not once. It has become (for some stupid, and I emphasize, stupid reason) to be used for expressing fractions of something in an illogical manner.

      • This the way it could work. Jane has two fewer apples than John. Sally has three times fewer apples than Jane or six apples fewer than John. But nobody ever uses it that way.

    • The rule in English is less (or more) weight, fewer (or greater) numbers, so the correct form would be “four times fewer numbers of birds”. I would agree it’s clumsy, so I’d suggest writing that the the bird population had fallen by 75%.

  10. Excerpted from commentary:

    They found almost four times fewer buzzards,

    Well now, the above is not at all surprising given the fact that there is so much carrion lying on the ground beneath the wind turbines.

  11. Top predators are limited by the availability of their prey. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about wind turbines, as these are only limited by the grants .

  12. hmm?
    just about every snake in aus( pythons excluded) is venomous.
    the hawks n eagles and kookaburras eat them
    I have a pair of breeding hawks in a tree bordering my land and am hugely grateful to have them on patrol
    though they missed thebrown snake i saw last saturday;-(
    if the windfarms theyve jammed all over Victoria do the same damage here..we are in deep cack!
    recent wet winters have led to good frog growth feeding snakes. and good harvests allowed mice to build also. without some aerial predation high snake populations will lead to grief for people pets and stock

  13. Squirrels are a similar case with regard to cars. One version of squirrel behavior is to run around in a dither when a car comes along. Such squirrels are hard to avoid and tend to get squished. The other version is to run like crazy in a straight line and get off the road.

    It seems to me as if there are fewer dithering squirrels than there were forty years ago. For sure, there are not fewer squirrels today. It looks like survival of the fittest.

    Is it possible that birds can adapt, evolve, or learn to avoid windmills?

    The other thing is that if there is an ecological niche, it will be filled. If prey species become abundant, another predator will take the place of the eagles. In the area where I live, the number of coyotes and foxes would increase.

    So, bad news for eagles and hawks would be good news for foxes and coyotes. Gophers, on the other hand, would still be in the same boat. They still have to worry about predators.

    • commieBob, anecdotal, but that’s my observation too. Most squirrels I approach now usually run straight off the road, compared to the zig-zagging, cartoon-like “escape” technique I used to see.

    • commieBob

      If squirrels evolve to run in a straight line they’ll be easy meat for even casual predators like cats and dogs that can outrun them. Birds of prey would have a field day.

      Actually, come to think of it, this could be a good idea as grey squirrels (imported from the US) have decimated red squirrel populations in the southern, most human populated half of the UK. They are considered pests and if caught must, by law, be humanely destroyed.

      If we convinced them to run in straight lines then problem solved. 🙂

    • “Is it possible that birds can adapt, evolve, or learn to avoid windmills?”

      The smarter ones will learn where to doo-doo the most damage.

  14. …A study of wind farms in India found that predatory bird numbers drop by three quarters in areas around the turbines….

    Remind me again of the percentage of the Earth’s surface that would need to be covered with wind-farms if we were to get all our energy from renewable sources…?

    • Oh but there isn’t ANY percentage that would be sufficient – those numbers bandied about are only about having enough CAPACITY to do so – you wouldn’t actually GET sufficient energy from those useless things WHEN AND WHERE YOU ACTUALLY NEED IT, so it’s just an academic exercise to show how ludicrous it is to THINK we could get all of our energy from useless weather dependent “renewables.”

  15. Building power stations used to be so simple, now armies of “experts” are required:

    “Decisions about whether to build, remove or modify dams involve complex trade-offs that are often accompanied by social and political conflict. A group of researchers from the natural and social sciences, engineering, arts and humanities has joined forces to show how, where and when it may be possible to achieve a more efficient balance among these trade-offs. Their work is featured in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).”

    https://phys.org/news/2018-11-problems-win-win-solutions.html

    This is being spun by the BBC as anti-hydro, in line with their zealous promotion of wind and solar, nothing at all to do with their pension fund investments.

  16. In southern Alberta I have a friend who runs cranes to repair and maintain wind farms. He says the coyotes wait around the wind farms and wait for the birds to fall out of the sky after being struck.

  17. OK, now this post make sense:

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/11/04/bloomberg-climate-change-will-cause-us-cities-to-be-overrun-by-rats/

    Climate change caused windmills to be built which killed the raptors which no longer ate the rats which overran the cities.

    But if the rats spread plague in the cities, there will be fewer eco-justice leagues to encourage the building of bird-chopping windmills. So the raptors will come back to eat the rats and the climate will go on unchallenged.

    • The rodent plague in South-West England is no joke right now. In 2013 an ecologist at the University of Bristol (located pretty much smack-dab at the centre of the infestation) counted 19 rats—mainly rattus norvegicus—for every student, if I recall correctly. With more and more of the campus becoming a “no-go area” for the humans, the University Senate basically called an if-you-can’t-beat-’em-lick-’em truce between the species. They soon came in for some gentle joking in the local papers, when a rat was awarded the Chair in Cognitive Psychology. This less-than-cute specimen, nicknamed ‘Steve’, even has his own website at the University!

  18. They just said they saw fewer birds near windturbines , no mention of killing except in the title . Maybe , as Commiebob says , birds of prey have learned to avoid areas with wind turbines ? Survival of the fittest …..

    • Anthony Keen

      Fair comment. There then, however, remains the problem of the imbalance of species. If there are no natural predators to control, for example rats, the area becomes overrun.

      There is culling of deer in Scotland (and elsewhere with deer and other animals) where the natural apex predator, wolves, have been eliminated.

      It potentially results in an overpopulation in another area, which inevitably leads to a reduction in numbers.

      Whichever way you cut it, wind turbines are bad for birds of prey.

  19. I was waiting to see what coverage the BBC would give to this very important story on the danger to our ecological system following the introduction of wind farms across the world. But nothing has appeared, not even on a poor news day. They are really a disgrace, and their Director General, Tony Hall, and his deputy, Anne Bulford should be relieved of their posts, and replaced by executives who are not going to use this public service which we all pay for, for promoting their own particular viewpoint.

    • George

      The BBC is just a government sock puppet.

      It’s the politicians that need to be booted out. The BBC will do as it’s told.

  20. The solution to this problem is very easy; construct the towers supporting the wind turbines to look just like
    oil derricks.
    The greenies will appear from nowhere and agitate to shut down the fowl killing devices.
    Millions of birds will be saved.

  21. Texas black and turkey vultures, along with rarer Mexican Eagles, (Caracaras), hawks and others have been subjected over the years to rising speed limits. Despite occasional carcasses apparently struck when failing to move rapidly enough and/or in the wrong direction off their roadkill there seem to be a lot around. The large windfarms north of Corpus Christi are on agricultural lands where they have sometimes seemed less common, but lots of migratory birds must have historically flown through the area. Increasing numbers of whooping cranes going south and windfarms going north are getting closer together. Lots of questions I would ask.

    These are ‘Apex Predator Facilitators,’ just like whoever hit the hog I saw Saturday beside the road. Scavengers aren’t usually mechanically predators. Also “…upsetting nature’s delicate balance” not so much delicate balance, something else gets it. Gargoyles come out at night when the wind dies and modelers are busy. Ecosystems are messy. Paper paywalled, journal articles shown don’t have titles. Curious to know about the research elsewhere, is there funding available? Herpetologists used to write papers on roadkill, not sure about bird people.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-018-0707-z

  22. Don’t they put the windmills in the windiest places, exactly in the path chosen by migratory birds? Check out Wolf Island at the east end of Lake Ontario. There are studies, but not made public.

  23. I’ve got no time for these fickle windmills sans storage but I’m not buying the bird chopper slaughter meme because I’ve been around a few and I haven’t seen all these dead birds which is not to say the odd bird strike can’t happen. Birds aren’t silly and that’s the reason they keep their distance from these strange noisy things that can harm them and that’s what creates the sanctuary for the ground dwelling prey and they in turn will bunch up there for lack of overhead predators.

    Same as sharks. When Orcas hit a Great White over at Port Lincoln shark cage watching area in South Australia that finished their business for over 3 months as the sharks vamoosed and the reverse is true of the Whitsundays now where 3 shark attacks on tourists snorkelling off the same beach stop indicates the reverse. That’s what drum lines and mesh nets are all about. You don’t have to nail all the predators just scare them off with an unaccustomed demise occasionally and they avoid the bad karma. Same with crocs in the NT when my parents would shoot them around populated areas and we as kids could swim safely on any of Darwin’s beaches.

    • Wolf Island has a documented dead bird and bat count. It converts the reports into birds per kW. It is likely too light because uncounted dead aviators are eaten by other grounded predators.

    • observa

      Again, fair point. But where do those displaced birds of prey go?

      They stray into other areas of the same species and get killed/or kill because they are trespassing. There goes a part of the population.

      They don’t need to be directly killed by the turbines, nature will take care of them.

      Golden Eagles have a massive area of operation and guard their territory jealously, that’s why there are so few in Scotland. Lose just a few to wind turbines, directly or otherwise, and a small population is severely compromised.

  24. Ask the Indonesian tourism investors how they fared after the Bali bombing although there must be some invisible mesh nets around the investment haven of Dubai by all accounts 😉

  25. Wolf Island has a documented dead bird and bat count. It converts the reports into birds per kW. It is likely too light because uncounted dead aviators are eaten by other grounded predators.

  26. Well I am gobsmacked.
    I would have thought that by this time in the thread (64 thoughts) some pro wind turbine fanatic would have spouted their typical nonsense regarding Cats and Bird Kills for outnumbering anything wind turbines are responsible for. So in advance of such nonsense…
    EXPOSURE RATES
    A bird is far more likely to encounter a Cat or a Building Window or a Car that they are to encounter a wind turbine at present. <0.1%

    • Bryan A

      Offshore wind turbine bird death counts can’t be accurately assessed because bird carcasses either float off or sink.

      I have witnessed several birds fly into my kitchen window, they all shook it off and flew off. Not one carcass so far

  27. Environmental issues normally put a stop to any worthwhile project but when it comes to wind and solar energy, they get a pass. Even killing “endangered” species doesn’t get them put out of business. When it is their pet ideas they very conveniently change their standards so the project can move forward. Isn’t this how tyranny work?

  28. As a skeptic, I have to ask, where are the pictures of the carcasses ?
    I think a study into the return on investment (ROI), of these monstrosities, would be enough to end any furtherance of their blight.
    The future is nuclear, or at least something like it.

    • Planned obsolescence will lead to a monstrous end to all the windmills as they contribute toward the entropy death of the universe all at once. Don’t worry, be happy.

      • “Don’t worry, be happy.”
        ========================
        Prescribe me some of those really good “happy pills”, and maybe….
        Otherwise, I’m stuck here.

  29. I’d like to know how this study distinguishes between birds avoiding the concentrations of wind farms, and birds killed by the wind turbines.

    As far as I can tell it makes no attempt to quantify bird deaths.

    So, how did we get to this headline?

    “Wind Farms Kill Off 75% Of Buzzards, Hawks And Kites That Live Nearby”

    ??

  30. It’s behind a pay wall, but the linked story implies shoddy science.

    “compared populations on a plateau with wind turbines to populations in a valley with no wind turbines – over a 20 year period”

    Perhaps they just moved.

    Furthermore, many of the figures (accessible in front of the paywall) show no statistically significant differences between such things as body condition, corticosterone levels, etc.

  31. OK, I have to admit I’m like just about everyone else — I find it easiest to get my information cut down to size and pre-digested. That usually means it’s 2nd or 3rd hand so you are at the mercy of those who are feeding you. Hands up those who looked at the full article that is quoted here…originally written for the Daily Mail in UK. The author of that was one Harry Pettit. Presumably he is the one responsible for the headline “..Blades kill off 75% of buzzards, hawks and kites that live nearby, study shows”. WOW, I thought, a real body blow for wind turbines. Now hands up those who spent some of their valuable time trying to track down what the scientists actually found … and said. I’m guessing there aren’t very many hands going up on this one. I found the paper written by the scientists – it wasn’t easy as none of the leads I followed (except The Guardian) actually provided a reference. It was published in the journal “Nature Ecology & Evolution” on 5 November 2018. What the scientist authors actually did was estimate the abundance of predatory birds in 6 study sites of .5 square km (50 ha) each which were 1-2 km apart on the same plateau. Three of the sites had wind turbines and three did not. They did observe fewer predatory birds and more of a certain species of lizard in the sites with wind turbines. They also observed that there were fewer attacks on ground-dwelling prey by predatory birds in areas with turbines – not a big surprise given that the birds were less abundant in areas with turbines.

    Nowhere do the authors suggest that the turbines had “killed off 75% of Buzzards, Hawks and Kites that live nearby”. Now if I was a bird of prey that hunts by flying overhead and searching for animals on the ground I would probably rather hunt a safe distance from wind turbines so I could keep both eyes on the ground all the time instead of having to keep one eye on the spinning blades. Does that mean I’ve been killed if I don’t hunt near the turbines? The study also mentioned there are lots of people and cattle active on the plateau where the study areas are located – it’s used as a grazing area. If the scientists had found only a quarter as many people and cattle wondering around in areas with turbines as areas without, Mr. Pettit’s logic would conclude the turbines had killed 75% of the people and cattle that live nearby. The Daily Mail article also states in its byline that “numbers of certain small animals are growing unchecked” – clearly a statement intended to alarm the reader. Presumably this is a reference to the increased number of lizards in the areas with wind turbines. Interestingly the scientists never stated or suggested that any animal population in the study area was growing “unchecked”, just that some had increased due to decreased predation by the birds. Neither did the scientists say there was a “devastating ripple effect across the food chain” – another Daily Mail byline cooked up using an alarmist word.

    Obviously this and other wind farms are not completely benign – no technology is. The question is whether wind farms are an appropriate way to meet this region’s energy needs. A simple question asked everywhere but there is almost never a simple answer given the complexities involved. Sadly, Mr. Watts has just parroted the article written by Harry Pettit for the Daily Mail, including its misleading headline. From his language Mr. Pettit is obviously a wind farm hater and he’s written his article accordingly. I would encourage everyone to take to heart the words of the scientists who conducted the study: “Wind farms are a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels for mitigating the effects of climate change, but they also have complex ecological consequences… There is thus a strong need for an ecosystem-wide view when aligning green-energy goals with environment protection”

    Now you know this article is Kool Aid. Drink it if you wish.

    • Looked specifically for this diclofenc post to reference to. That wonderful antibiotic used in Indian cattle (which baffles me as you can’t eat Indian cattle so was it used in buffalo?) that followed the removal of fresh rape seed oil ground in situ and its substitution by preserved dead vegetable oil on the grocery shelves, and now the co-opting of the Indian farmer’s rented land for chicken raising, all sources of that fabulous ‘new market’ myth of capitalism, doomed to destroy India, in spite of having the greatest coal reserves.
      Any research in coal burning?
      Actually wind farms have an even bigger problem, they ‘rob’ the down stream of air. Wait for that shocker to come in.

      • @kate

        “they rob the downstream of air”

        If they operated at the theoretical maximum, they would decrease the velocity of the wind in the swept area by 59%, (Betz Limit) but they don’t get anywhere near that — and that only applies to the area swept by the blades

        Furthermore, If you just take a volumetric analysis of the tiny (relative to reality) rectangle formed by distance from ground to hub height plus blade radius, by 2* radius (for an 80 meter blade at 110 meter hub height) = 30,400 square meters
        versus the swept area of pi*r squared = 20,000 — you get a theoretical maximum of the wind decreased in that little sliver of area of .59*.66 = or 40% — since true efficiencies are about 30% of braking force the actual decrease of that small window is about 15%, turbulence and laminar flow from above resolve the wind speed downstream in about 500 meters.

  32. I live in the Columbia River Gorge, half of which is in Oregon and the other half of which is in Washington State. I know some people who work on the turbines, and they tell me that there aren’t a lot of bird kills. (Mind you, the Gorge is pretty much raptor central. Bald eagles, hawks, Osprey, turkey vultures, and some golden eagles are plentiful around here.)

    I don’t like wind turbines. They are a blight on the landscape. But I am also a fact-based guy. The wind turbine operators study bird kills. Turns out that they actually — get this — buy dead birds to attract raptors, some of which get killed by the wind turbines.

    Be careful what you believe, especially when you are being told what you want to hear.

  33. Anthony I would update the article if I were you
    Your title is just quoting the Daily Mail tile without the quotation marks
    “Blades kill off 75% of buzzards, hawks and kites that live nearby, study shows”
    ..and of course that is a clickbait title
    Cos as commenters above say the study doesn’t say that 75% DIED
    A better title “Indian study finds 75% less buzzards, hawks and kites living in turbine areas”

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