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  (Source: CleanTechnica)
Annual death toll expected to rise

recent study in Klickitat County, Washington shows that active wind farms in Washington and Oregon kill more than 6,500 birds and 3,000 bats annually. 

Biologist Orah Zamora works for West, Inc., an ecological field study company, monitors the Windy Flats project, one of the largest wind farms in the United States. Zamora looks for dead birds and bats that have been severed by the spinning blades of the surrounding wind turbines in order to conduct survey's to observe how wind-power development is affecting birds. 

"It's like a crime scene, and you try to figure out what happened," said Zamora. "Sometimes it's really obvious because you can see a slice mark."

These surveys are financed by the wind industry and are mainly concerned with birds like eagles, hawks, and other raptors. Klickitat County is especially a concern because the area has an abundance of prey for these larger birds, hence, they tend to stay in the area. According to the study, these birds are diving for their prey and do not pay attention to the large wind turbine blades that may be in the way.

There are differing views between scientists, biologists and wind-energy developers as to whether birds are at high risk because no one knows what cumulative death toll will have a significant impact on the species. 

Wind-power advocates say "these deaths are an acceptable trade-off for development of a renewable energy source." They also note that man-made hazards and house cats account for tens of millions of bird-related deaths per year. According to Mike Sagrillo, a consultant who writes for the American Wind Energy Association, bird mortality "at wind farms, compared to other human-related causes of bird mortality, is biologically and statistically insignificant."

The surveys taken in Klickitat County showed that wind power is only a minor hazard to birds, but scientists say it's too early to really "discount the risks posed by the rush to develop Northwest wind power."

A survey in Klickitat County at the Big Horn Wind Farm indicated that more than 30 raptors were killed "during an initial year of operations - more than seven times the number forecast in a pre-construction study." Among the dead birds were short-eared owls, kestrels, red-tailed hawks and a ferruginous hawk. 

"We take questions and concerns of wildlife impacts very seriously," said Jan Johnson, a spokeswoman for Iberdrola Renewables, which owns the Big Horn Wind Farm. 

In addition to these findings, Altamount Pass Wind Farms in California have older wind turbines from the 1980's that have killed more raptors "per megawatt of power than anywhere else in the nation." These wind farms kill more than 1,600 raptors per year.

While developers have agreed to relocate turbines away from canyon ridges where the large birds of prey spend most of their time, the death toll is still expected to rise due to the lack of information regarding what death toll is biologically significant to these birds. 

A study by West, Inc. that was paid for by the Klickitat County Planning Department showed that the turbines would kill 516 raptors each year just in the Columbia River plateau region of Oregon and Washington if the industry doubled in size. The study determined that this was not a significant number, but ecologist K. Shawn Smallwood thinks the study underestimates the number of deaths and that it's hard to conclude whether these wind turbine-related deaths would harm an entire species.

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RE: What are the chances
By MrBlastman on 6/7/2010 12:53:29 PM , Rating: 5
I think this is great.

Just the other day I noticed one of the screens on our screened-in porch was dented in at the top and now I have to fix it. It is obvious a bird caused it, and I'm sure they cause this all across America in many homes.

These Wind Farms are not a problem at all, the environmentalists just aren't looking at it properly. With all the talk of unemployment in America, lack of proper healthcare and lackluster jobs growth, these people need to re-assess their studies. Wind Farms are providing many benefits that clearly can be seen if you look a little further into it:

1. America eats birds program: People near these farms are STARVING! Not only do they need affordable power, they also need food! Dead birds=food... for cheap! They already have paid their power bills, now they get discounted birds in their supermarkets (or, they could drive up and participate in an "America eats birds" program.

2. Scrounging hour: This will also help the wind farms cut costs by allowing the people to come onto the lots on "scrounging hour" to pick the best of the bunch to fill their bellies.

3. Cash-For-Feathers program: Look, shelter capacity is at an all time demand lately and we just can't afford to open any more of them. These birds have a lucrative byproduct other than their organ meat. They have feathers! If you allow Americans to trade-in their feathers (after they eat the rest of the bird) in the "Cash-For-Feathers" program, our Government can then use these feathers to fill pillows and mattresses in shelters across the country.

I feel horrible for all those that are impoverished these days and this is the least our government can do to capitalize on this untapped resource.

4. Stylin' for America: In this program, citizens can turn in the beaks of the birds they eat in to our Government so it can subsidize Shampoo and Skin-Care products for everyone! Keratin is vital for revitalizing our beauty. Now there will be no excuse at all for Americans not looking their best.

And most importantly,

5. Hot Dogs n' Ballparks for kids: When our economy is down, more Americans should be watching Baseball, our national pasttime (who knew?!). With the advent of inflated ticket prices due to athletes being paid absurd amounts of money (they work really hard!), it has become grossly harder for the average family to afford the essentials of a good game: peanuts and hot dogs.

Well, we can fix that, America! With the Hot Dogs n' Ballparks program, all Americans who consume birds from these Windfarms can use a Government™ Nitrate Rectal Extration Kit™ to pull valuable nitrates straight from the dead birds and send it in to dramatically reduce Hot Dog processing costs! This will lower expenses at ballparks around our great country and help fill the stands, letting us forget about the hard times that are upon us. People from afar can come 'sportin their new do's and bring their Government™ stuffed cushions to sit on.

So, what did we learn here, kids? Think! That's right environmentalists, this is an opportunity! Help America be strong, help their problems... fly away.

RE: What are the chances
By FrankJBones on 6/9/2010 9:41:52 AM , Rating: 2
You tried WAY too hard and made it pathetic instead of funny.

I would only recommend watching baseball to those in the population who need non-invasive lobotomies. Looks like you already got yours. One down, a few million neocons and born-again christians to go.

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