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Sunday, 30 June 2013

From bird's eye view, cats and windows are riskier than turbines......

The Times (Saturday, 29th July 2013) ran an interesting article regarding the unfortunate demise of the white-throated needletail on the Isle of Harris due it colliding with a wind turbine.

'This small tragedy raises the issue of just how much damage wind turbines might cause to wildlife'.

All good stuff, you can read the article on line no doubt.

More interstingly though were some of the conclusions of the article based on scientific research and the views of conservation bodies.

The RSPB commented, 'each turbine has the potential to kill....so does any obstacle - like cars and telephone wires'.

The BTO identified a far more malevolent scourge of Britain's birds: windows (although personally I would have suggested agricultural policy over the last 50 years, but I suppose that until birds start flying into either sheep, combine harvesters or collie dogs, maybe that one will have to be put on the back-burner!?).

'But compared with other sources of power it could be argued that birds have a strong incentive to back wind. A 2009 study from the University of Singapore estimated that 0.3 birds died per gigawatt hour of electricity produced by wind power. For nuclear the figure was 0.4 and for fossil fuels 5.2'.

'However, far and away the most significant threat to Britain's birds is the domesticated cat. According to research from the University of Reading, each cat in Britain kills 18.2 birds a year'

'So next time a white-throated needletail considers making a trip to the UK, it might be comforted at the outrage about its predecessor's death by wind turbine. But it might also be confused that the same country accepts a cat-based apocalypse of an estimated 150 million birds a year'

Following this article I am mindful to suggest that flinging your cat(s) at a wind turbine might very well serve as a better pound for pound investment in conservation than your annual subscription to the RSPB ever will.


Alex said...

I would like to see you fling that cat pictured below at a wind turbine....

Randal M Snowdrop said...

...I'd happily fling Tigger 'Woodhead' at a wind turbine after this afternoon's encounter on the side of The Garth....grrrrrr

tiger said...

just returned from hol Randal so dont understand your comment re The Garth, so please give us a clue mate

Dave said...

We're having an issue over here with the placement of turbines within a few hundred meters of a national wildlife refuge and a major migration route at Magee Marsh.
Apparently, the few jobs provided are more important than the future of the numerous species that fly through every spring and fall.
And then there's the cat problem...

Randal M Snowdrop said...

Perhaps if we burn 18.2 cats for every bird they kill we could reverse global warming? (Where's my Nobel Prize?)