I’ve been referring to solar farms as wing-toasters and wind farms as slice-and-dicers for some time.
Found a few articles that explain why wind turbines have earned that well-deserved title:
4/30 The ECOreport – How Much Wildlife Can USA Afford to Kill? – Lots of footnotes.
Don’t go to the link unless you can stomach photos of large raptors sliced into pieces. Staff at wind farms are picking up chunks. One eagle was beheaded.
Amongst many points in the article are that all the counts of mortality are severely understated. Two specific reasons are an intentionally small search area and infrequent counts:
Wildlife expert Jim Wiegand has documented how areas searched under wind turbines are still confined to 200-foot radiuses, even though modern monster turbines catapult 90% of bird and bat carcasses much further. Windfarm owners, operating under voluntary(!) USFWS guidelines, commission studies that search much-too-small areas, look only once every 30-90 days, ensuring that scavengers remove most carcasses, and ignore wounded birds that happen to be found within search perimeters.
In the accounting world, we call that “auditing with your eyes closed.”
In the slice-and-dice world, that shows up as avoiding the birds disposed by scavengers and skipping the birds that don’t fall straight down when hit by a turbine moving over a hundred miles an hour. Blades are in the range of 100 feet long so a radius of 200 feet is twice the reach of blades – birds would have to fall almost straight down to get counted.
That would be like calculating a baseball player’s batting average by counting the number of hit balls landing on the infield. But only in every third inning.
Save the Eagles International – Article mentioned above was written by the president of Save the Eagles.
WARNING! You don’t want to visit their site unless you can tolerate photos of eagles in pieces, which demonstrate what happens when a bird meets the blade of a slice-and-dicer.
4 thoughts on “Visuals explaining why wind turbines deserve name of slice-and-dicer & why the number of sliced birds is undercounted”
There is also something called barrotrauma, that is pulmonary embolism caused by a bat or bird flying behind the spinning blades. No contact is necessary and bats and sometimes birds can fly for quite a distance before hemorrhaging to death. http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822%2808%2900751-3?_returnURL=http%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0960982208007513%3Fshowall%3Dtrue&cc=y=
Hi Mr. Stewart:
Thanks for the link. Thanks for introducting me to the term barotrauma. The link you mentioned refers to this article. My accounting-brain summary: The back side of a spinning turbine blade has a low pressure area. When a bat flies through that area, the pressure difference decompresses the bat’s lung, causing severe bleeding, which can easily be fatal. Bats’ biological construction makes them especially vulnerable to decompression.
Looks like I need to write another post! Thanks for the commenting and thanks for the idea!
Just posted a discussion of the article linked by Mr. Stewart.