[CT Birds] It never ends

Chris Elphick elphick at sbcglobal.net
Wed Jun 26 20:22:26 EDT 2013

Paul mentioned the latest statistics for wind farm mortalities, and I completely agree that improving turbine technology to reduce the impact on birds, bats, and other wildlife is very important - especially when rarer species are involved.  But, large as those numbers seem they're not that big in the grand scheme of things.  Cars for example have been estimated to kill 60 million birds a year (100 times more than turbines).  

Until we all greatly reduce our energy use, lots of birds will be killed by our actions.  The Exxon Valdez oil spill alone is estimated to have killed 250,000 birds, about half of the number Paul gives for all wind turbines in the US last year.  Now that was a pretty big spill, but most oil-related bird deaths do not happen in large spills, but as a result of the hundreds of small, ignored-by-the-press-and-public spills that happen all the time.

For some context see this old post on David Sibley's blog:

The numbers are a little dated (wind numbers are low, but if you plotted today's numbers the graph would look the same).  The cat numbers in David's figure are also far below current estimates, the latest of which put the count at about 2.4 billion (plus ~12 billion mammals).  But the general picture is clear.  If we want to reduce human impacts on birds we should worry a lot less about things like wind power and put all of our effort into banning cats and windows.


Chris Elphick

Storrs, CT

elphick at sbcglobal.net

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