there is plenty of evidence on wind turbine bird deaths.
none of it to my mind amounts to a reason not to build wind farms.
Yesterday I heard of a study which reported 1.2 bird deaths per year at wind farms in this country, none of which were rare or threatened species.
There is an enormouse political storm raging around the decision to not allow a particular wind farm on Victoria's south east coast.
At Pacifi c Hydro's Codrington Wind Farm in Victoria
(comprising 14 wind generators and opened in July
2001) a total of four bird deaths and one bat death
were reported as a consequence of colliding with
wind generators between 2001 and 2003. None of
these were rare, threatened or endangered species.
The measured mortality rates were used to predict a
likely level of mortality from the wind farm as a whole
of between 18 and 38 birds per year. Although there
were some early concerns about the potential impact
the wind farm might have on water birds, behavioural
studies showed that this group was adept at avoiding
Stanwell's Toora wind farm in South Gippsland
comprises 12 wind turbines. Between 2002 and 2003
six bat corpses were found. Common starlings,
Australian magpies and ravens declined in numbers
after operations started (although no fatalities were
recorded), while the numbers of skylarks and
gold fi nches increased. Wedge-tailed eagles were
regularly observed before and after operations
began, but these avoided the turbines by fl ying
around or between them, not into them. The survey
found no evidence that the wind farm has caused
signifi cant levels of bird mortality and stated that the
impact seems to be confi ned to localised,
indirect effects on common, farmland birds. No
threatened bird species were observed on
the site during a total of two years of surveys
and whilst bats have been impacted, the effect is not
of conservation signifi cance.
For Stage 1 of its Woolnorth Wind Farm, Hydro
Tasmania has released results of bird studies
conducted from October 2002 to October 2003,
during which wind turbines were monitored for
evidence of any collisions. The wind turbines were
monitored daily during peak activity periods and twice
weekly throughout the remainder of the year. These
studies show that mortality rates for all species
are at the lower end of the levels predicted at the
development assessment stage. After October 2003,
Hydro Tasmania did report an additional nine birds
having collided with wind turbines, one of which was
a wedge-tailed eagle, which is a threatened species
in Tasmania (but not on the mainland). Under the
conditions of its planning permit from the Tasmanian
Environmental Management and Pollution Control
Board, Hydro Tasmania is required to make a
contribution to the species' recovery.