Protect Birds of Prey

Lindsay Post

I read the article on the success the osprey is having here in the City of Kawartha Lakes and it certainly is a good news story.

But with the possible allocation of wind turbines throughout our municipality, I have real concern for the future of our birds of prey. It would be difficult for anyone to argue this area seems to be a hot spot for birds. I’ve counted 10 species of hawk, falcon and eagle including osprey and the bald eagle just off the top of my head and there could be possibly more.

Although the turbine industry claims that turbines kill less than 1% of the bird population, the majority of these birds would comprise of the species related to birds of prey. And since prey creatures are usually only 10% of any animal population, this 1% claim suddenly becomes more of a concern. We also have to hope that 1% is the truth and not a doctored number. Birds of prey are attracted to the up drafts the turbines produce and tend to circle the turbines until they get too close and get struck by one of the blades. A bald eagle has already been found dead in southern Ontario only 40 metres from a wind turbine.

I feel the City of Kawartha Lakes is part of a natural migration route and the wind turbines will have a significant toll on our birds of prey simply because of the numbers of prey birds that live in this area.

Once the turbines are up they will not be moved, so we need to ask ourselves if this is a logical place for them. In California which is also another part of the migratory route of birds of prey, 2,000 to 5,000 birds are killed each year.

According to a web site called the Heartland Institute, quote, “A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that Altamont Pass bird deaths are more prevalent than previously thought. According to the Jan. 30 Oakland Tribune, previous studies conducted by wind farm operators had underestimated Altamont Pass bird kills by 25 to 300%. Moreover, new technologies designed to reduce the number of bird deaths will actually have the effect of increasing turbine bird kills.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory determined that new technology that would reduce the number of turbines by increasing the size of each tower’s blades would kill more birds than the preexisting turbines. The larger turbines would increase the area of “swept” air and would have more lethal blades and components than their smaller cousins.

There’s nothing wrong with green initiatives, but it’s important to put wind turbines in locations that are logical for people, wildlife and the environment and not just because of a convenient power supply.

Remember, we’re supposed to be making the world a better place, not a more dangerous one.


3 thoughts on “Protect Birds of Prey

  1. New technologies are now being used to protect birds and bats at some windfarms. The US State of Texas Parks & Wildlife Department has just released a documentary video on the use of Avian Radar System technology for real-time migratory bird risk mitigation at coastal wind farms in Texas. The video also includes footage on the use of additional bird radar systems by the Texas A&M Kingsville Cesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Center for a multi-year coastal migratory bird study. The video can be viewed on line at:

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