photo: US Fish & Wildlife Service/Creative Commons
As wind power installations over the past year in the US tank a new study is published that confirms house cats are more lethal to birds than wind turbines, but tells a different story for larger birds such as whooping cranes, eagles and sage grouse.Via New York Times:
If you are a baby bird in Takoma Park, Md., cats are possibly public enemy No. 1. But if your interest is in protecting several iconic American bird species ... wind turbines are possibly the bigger problem ... Although scientists still debate the exact nature and extent of the threat from turbines, they agree that the high-voltage transmission lines needed to connect remote wind farms to a distant grid are a hazard for the birds as they land and take off from resting spots. For such a small population, the loss of even a few birds is significant.
Some of the solutions are probably obvious: Using newer turbines (by this point citing the older turbines at Altamont pass as a hazard is well known and perhaps not current), siting turbines away from raptor nests and away from sage grouse areas.
All in all, not a revelation, but bolsters the case that just because something is good for clean energy, it doesn't mean other environmental factors also need to be considered for construction.