/ Wind farms "driving rare birds and bats to extinction"

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Coel Hellier - on 04 Jan 2013
"Every year in Spain alone — according to research by the conservation group SEO/Birdlife — between 6 and 18 million birds and bats are killed by wind farms."

http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/8807761/wind-farms-vs-wildlife/
dale1968 - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: see, nuclear is much more friendly...
Eric9Points - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Hmmm, so they're saying that every other day or so every wind turbine kills a bird. Three a week, a dozen a month, 150 a year or so.

Why have I never seen dozens of dead birds beneath a wind turbine? Am I just not looking closely enough? Are they all eaten by foxes before anyone notices?

ring ouzel on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: Hmmm. I completely agree with him about tidal barrages, they displace all the waders and estuarine fish and with nowhere else to go they will die. But as for wind farms I dont agree with him. I work on several wind farms. If corpses are found under a turbine its me they call out to id the bird or bat and fill in the report. I also check turbine bases regularly as part of my job. Since last August I have had to pick up one red grouse and no bats at all. Thats from about 100 turbines at various sites across the Highlands. I cant really believe that birds and bats are being chopped all over the place except the Highlands. My colleagues work in various parts of the UK and I have only heard of one other casualty (a buzzard) so I dont agree with his figures at all.
Cuthbert on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to ring ouzel:


Fraser Nelson, The Spectator, Conservatives, windfarms....
ring ouzel on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Saor Alba: Ah, join the dots and win a major prize (as the Big Yin said).
EeeByGum - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Eric9Points: You make a fair point. The only solution therefore is that secret service agents are sent out to remove the collateral damage.
MG - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Saor Alba: I was about to post this search

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=spectator+wind+energy&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=o...

which hardly suggests a impartial approach from the Spectator.
Sir Chasm - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to ring ouzel: If you hit a cricket ball it doesn't necessarily drop at the base of the wickets.
Cuthbert on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:

Stupid post. They guy is an experienced professional in this area. Either you pay some attention to that or to a right wing rag with an agenda.
Sir Chasm - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Saor Alba: Stupid post. The guy is an experienced professional with a vested interest.
dissonance - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

a year old report and looking at the other top 10 or so google links relating to it they all have "may" or "could" with the methodology being unclear.
Be a lot of bodies for ring ouzel and co to find, unless they are being hidden/eaten quick.
Coel Hellier - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Saor Alba:

> Stupid post. They guy is an experienced professional in this area. Either you pay some attention
> to that or to a right wing rag with an agenda.

The piece was written by: "I’m a lecturer in biological and human sciences at Oxford university. I trained as a zoologist, I’ve worked as an environmental consultant — conducting impact assessments on projects like the Folkestone-to-London rail link — and I now teach ecology and conservation."

Yet instead of regarding his piece as by "an experienced professional in this area" you discount it as "a right wing rag with an agenda".
ring ouzel on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: I have also trained as a zoologist, and I now work as an environmental consultant and I have taught ecology and conservation. But I commented as I now work on wind farms, he gives his experience as working on a rail link. Although as an experienced ornithologist I prefer not to favour one wing over another. :-)
Cuthbert on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I can't be bothered arguing with you.
MG - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: It would be helpful if he provided some links to the research, either in the article or on his website. He doesn't seem to have published anything to do with birds or bats or the effects of wind farms. As it is, it appears as propaganda piece in a openly biased news paper - note the inverted commas around climate change in the article, the appeal to authority and emotion at the beginning of the article, and the nature of the comments at the end.

Maybe he is right but he is not doing a very good job of making his case if so.
tony on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier) It would be helpful if he provided some links to the research, either in the article or on his website.

I've tried to find the original SEO/Birdlife report. None of the links in any of the reports I've read work.
ring ouzel on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm: Yes I do have a vested interest, you are right. My interest is in making sure that the environmental impacts of windfarms are kept to a minimum and that they comply with the planning and environmental legislation that is required of them. When the conservationists have had their say and lost (and I worked in conservation for 20 years so I have experience there) there is only one group that can ensure the impacts on species are minimized and thats the ECoW - the Ecological Clerk of Works.

Wind farms are not the whole answer, they are only a very small part of the solution but they are necessary. Other things are also needed (I think thorium nuclear should be part of it) but they will take longer to develop.
In reply to Coel Hellier: I also noted that, but wondered has he written similar pieces for professional magazines or peer reviewed articles? Presumably he has or he is quoting others who have?

Of course he might have published this in the Spectator because no other paper would run it because they want to hide some facts, or he might have published this in the spectator because he knew they wouldn't question his facts?
Coel Hellier - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to MG:

> It would be helpful if he provided some links to the research ...

A big flaw of most mainstream newspapers and magazines is that they don't give references. Many newer methods of dissemination, such as blogs, can be much better at this (despite often being regarded as less authoritative).

> note the inverted commas around climate change in the article

Though elsewhere in the article the term is used without inverted commas. In that instance with inverted commas he seems to be making the point that, on long time-scales, the climate is always changing.
Sir Chasm - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to ring ouzel: What would happen to an existing windfarm if you found death on a scale of the original post?
ring ouzel on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm: To be honest Sir Chasm I dont know. It hasn't happened in the UK to my knowledge. If it started happening on a site I worked on I have the authority to shut it down. How long it stayed closed for would be a matter for SNH and the Scottish Government I suppose.
Coel Hellier - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to MG:

> He doesn't seem to have published anything to do with birds or bats or the effects of wind farms.

He does seem to have published on birds and other animals. See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101011161639.htm regarding his paper "Hambler, C., Henderson, P. A., Speight, M. R. (2011). Extinction rates, extinction-prone habitats, and indicator groups in Britain and at larger scales. Biological Conservation, 144, 713–721.

For those commenting on this author's ideological stance, note his quotes at the bottom of that piece: "Many ancient and important habitats in Britain are threatened today because of human activity and population growth -- whether it's an increase in water use, growing use of wood fuel, or the growth of urban sprawl. Despite conservationists' efforts it's very likely extinction rates will continue to rise in Britain and globally for many years. These losses will impact on human welfare, and I'd say conservation needs a profile and resources even bigger than climate change."

And: "This work strengthens the claim that the world is suffering a mass extinction. We can now be much more confident that across the planet the less conspicuous and less well-known species are going extinct at a similar high rate to that already witnessed in birds, fish and amphibians."
MonkeyPuzzle - on 04 Jan 2013
Yeah, come on ring ouzel, admit the cover-up. You've been using a toy bulldozer to push thousands of birds and bats into mass graves and eating what you can't bury, just to save your job. 'Oh no ring ouzel, not bat fricasee again', your dinner guests plead.
AdrianC - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: And, for the sake of context, how many birds are killed by domestic cats in a year? It's an interesting number.
goosebump - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier & Ring Ouzel:

Hello, fellow ecologist here. I didnt read the article linked to but I attended the IEEM conference (did you?, apologies if so, you will know the next bit) in respect of renewable technogy, since I was hoping to get early news of the outcome of DEFRAs research on the impact of tubines upon bats in the UK. Those undertaking the research are not yet willing to commit to conclusions but did highlight some interesting stuff - I think Ive remembered this correctly:

Bat corpses disappear within a couple of days, max. Mostly pulled down and gobbled by beetles.
Human searchers for bat corpses around a turbine turn up only 20% of bats that are present, trained dogs find 70%. Humans also take 2.5 hours to search a 100m radius, dogs take 40 minutes.

I wont waffle on, but basically there are a bunch of people in the UK trying to build an evidence base upon which more informed decisions can be made in future.

Lastly, ring ouzel, Im envious of your turbine controlling power! Is your role at that site enshrined in a S75/S106 or similar?
althesin on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to AdrianC: I had a cat who to my shame was responsible for daily mice/ rat/ mole/ rabbit/ songbird kills. Bells and beeping collars had no effect, he was eventually stopped -by a fox.
ring ouzel on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to goosebump: yhm. :-)
Alyson - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to goosebump: Human searchers for bat corpses around a turbine turn up only 20% of bats that are present, trained dogs find 70%.

I can only imagine this figure can be arrived at by strewing an area with a known number of bat corpses! How else would you know? And if that were the case, how would it prove how many actual bats get hit by actual turbines? I'm not meaning to be controversial, just wondering if the conference mentioned the methodology in arriving at those numbers.
goosebump - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Alyson:

You guessed right! :)
The first thing to do before searching for corpses at turbines was to find out how effective searching for corpses is in the first place. Bat corpses were strewn about beneath turbines and the relocation rate obtained.

It goes no way to proving/disproving anything about bat mortality and turbines. All it does show is that if you give a trained dog or trained person that amount of time at a turbine, the number of bats they find would be a given proportion of the number likely to be present.
MG - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to goosebump: Where would I acquire numerous bat corpses from!?
elsewhere on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to goosebump) Where would I acquire numerous bat corpses from!?

Ask the dog.
goosebump - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to MG:

If you dont know, you cant have them :-)

There is an army of Licensed batworkers across the UK who usally all have one or two knocking about somewhere, waiting for identification. Handfuls more get found every year, and/or sent in for rabies testing, or dried out and flattened and kept as reference specimens. Need a Licence though, otherwise its illegal to keep dead bits of bats.

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