Fatal Attraction: Birds and Wind Turbines
Wind farms have always been a point of contention between conservationists and clean-power advocates, but do bird survival and wind energy have to be mutually exclusive concepts? This segment from KQED QUEST highlights California's largest wind-farm cluster at Altamont Pass, which kills as many as 1,300 birds of prey—including golden eagles, burrowing owls, and other threatened birds—each year because of collisions with the area's 5,400 turbines.
Now, scientists, wind companies, and environmentalists are working together to bird-proof the turbines of one of the most lethal wind projects for birds in the world. Make no mistake, we're staunchly on the side of the pro-wind-farm brigade—pollution from unsustainable sources such as coal-powered plants, for example, are certainly more lethal to bird populations—but if better turbine designs can also reduce bird mortality, you certainly won't find us squawking about them. :: KQED QUEST