Age: Appearance: Early examples Propellers date on to sticks. the 7th century. Function: Energy providers, climate rescuers, apex predators. Apex predators? Have you confused wind turbines with wolves? Well, they are similar to wolves in that they hunt in packs.
And what do wind turbines prey upon? Other predators – mostly raptors, such as buzzards, hawks and kites. It’s not that I don’t believe you, but would you happen to have any video evidence of wind turbines predating? There’s not much to see; just blades turning. Or not, as the case may be. Then how do the wind turbines kill the raptors? They don’t. The raptors avoid them altogether. I feel that you might be changing the definition of “apex predator” slightly in order to justify your previous assertion. It’s all in a new study published in the respected science journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.
Is it, though? Yes. According to Dr Maria Thaker, raptors were four times rarer in the areas of an Indian mountain range where turbines had been erected. OK, but that’s not the same as her claiming that … “We have basically added a new apex predator – a wind turbine,” she said.
Wow. She really did claim it. She did.
I guess I’m just disappointed because I had an image in my mind of turbines chopping
the birds in half. A 2013 study found that each turbine will cause only about five bird deaths a year – but mere avoidance has a big outcome for species down the food chain.
How so? The fan-tailed lizard population has exploded under the Indian turbines as a consequence of raptors steering clear.
Is that a good thing? Not necessarily. This cascading effect could have a disastrous impact on the whole ecosystem. I suppose we need to pull down all the wind turbines now. Please don’t. Climate change is a much bigger threat to wildlife than windfarms. Even Dr Thaker says so: “The bottom line for me is that I will pick wind energy over fossil fuels any day.”
So what’s the solution? Windfarms should be sited with care, avoiding ecologically sensitive areas, breeding grounds for vulnerable species and major migratory routes.
Fine, let’s do that then. We already do, to an extent. Planners in the UK have blocked wind farm proposals due to concerns about bird populations.
Do say: “If we’re smart about where we put them, wind turbines can do a lot to help our wildlife.” Don’t say: “What if we glued bird seed to the blades? Would that lure them in?”