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nocturnal migrating birds killed by man-made structures

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  • mark duchamp
    Interesting webpage! http://my.execpc.com/CE/5F/idzikoj/passerines/towerkill.htm Stan s question, below: * would wind turbine towers on such a flight path pose
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2005
      Stan's question, below: "would wind turbine towers on such a flight path pose a similar danger?" 
      is begging for this answer: let's do more studies! - as opposed to the ethical solution:
      let's pay attention to the windfarm birdkill data already at hand, and apply the precautionary principle.
      Let me explain "ethical":
      By applying the precautionary principle, we would spare the millions of birds that will die 
      while we study the matter to death during more decades. What's more: we all know that, once built,
      the windfarms will stay forever, no matter how many birds they kill - Altamont Pass is proof enough. 
      So it is clear that "let's-do-more-studies" is not a solution. It's not a solution for the birds. It's not a solution
      for biodiversity. It's only helping some ornithologists make a living at the expense of the birds and,
      what's worse, at the expense of the survival of species. 
      For the detrimental effects on biodiversity are obvious. Let me just quote this from the webpage in question:

      "Mortality from towerkills adds to the incremental decline of migrant birds that has been
      accelerating since the 1950's due to loss of habitat in the tropics on wintering grounds
      and in North America on summer nesting grounds. One study comparing archived weather radar
      images from 1957 and 1989 found that spring arrivals of migrants on the Gulf Coast of
      Louisiana had decreased in frequency by 50% in 30 years. Fragmentation of quality habitat
      for daily migration stopover along their path has been increasing removing valuable cover
      and feeding areas. Birds often are forced to land at dawn in low cover habitat making them
      vulnerable to predators. Lighted skyscrapers and tall buildings can result in kills similar
      to towerkills.  Increasing feral cat populations account for thousands of migrants lost in
      spring and fall. The seasonal migration of millions of small birds to and from the
      Neotropics of often 3000 miles one-way is one of the spectacular events of our natural
      world fraught with natural hazards of predation and weather. We have greatly increased
      these hazards and the decline of these birds continues. By the decisions we make this
      century' end  will see either an attainable equilibrium and increased populations or the
      decline and loss of viable populations resulting in extinctions."

      In such a context, you don't have to be Einstein to figure out that adding tens of thousands 
      of wind turbines (over a million worldwide) to the picture is going to further this detrimental effect
      on populations. Cumulative effect is key. Remember: at Cordelia (Solano County, California) a single wind turbine, set in a low avian activity area, is estimated to have killed 54 birds in one year (S. Byrne, 1983).


      What is unethical in this eco-atrocity (to use a word coined by Stan), is that the ornithological and 
      wildlife-conservation communities are in effect siding with the perpetrators. A case in point: the Mexican bird society, Cipamex, is not opposing the 5,000+ wind turbines that are to be built across the busiest migration bottleneck in the world, a place where the birds are flying low due to the strong winds: the isthmus of Tehuantepec.



      And besides that of Cipamex, the condoning silence of the Audubon Society, the Peregrine Fund, the Sierra Club, the NRDC, Defenders of Wildlife, the ABC, SEO/Birdlife, FOE, Greenpeace, the RSPB, WWF, etc. is deafening .


      Now you may ignore me. You may call me an "activist". You may censor me (already being done here and there). You may even ban me from your forums. But you won't stop me from denouncing this most cynical of all conservation-related scandals.

      Mark Duchamp

      On 11/30/05, Stan Moore <stangabboon@...> wrote:
      The URL for the page is:


      I find this information interesting for several

      1) radar tracking of migrating birds during a
      rainstorm along the  Great Lakes

      2)  tower kills of significant numbers of birds

      3)  role of tower lighting in attracting birds to
      their deaths

      question arising:  would wind turbine towers on such a
      flight path pose a similar danger?  would presence or
      absence of lighting on wind turbines make them safer
      than the towers involved in these documented kills?

      Stan Moore     San Geronimo, CA     stangabboon@...

      Yahoo! Mail - PC Magazine Editors' Choice 2005

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