Wind turbines called threat to raptor migration


In an article dated August 15, 2009, wind turbines are called a threat to raptor migration.

Butterflies, bats and birds, especially raptors, long ago discovered they could effortlessly ride the thermal drafts and are lured to places winds are plentiful. This article discusses the lure of the Shawangunk-Kittatinny Ridg in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, where raptors flock in their autumn migrations – and states the “windmills there now threaten to turn them into mulch”. Much of the argument can be applied to Amherst Island.

Noted ornithologist, Donald Heintzelman, is working to keep turbines from being placed along the raptors’ migration route. Wildlife have collided with the giant, blindly rotating blades of wind-power for 25 years in places like California’s Altamont Pass. One 2004 study there showed 1,766 to 4,721 feathered creatures, including eagles, are annually cut up in the 5,000 turbines.

Heintzelman has petitioned the federal U.S. Department of the Interior to designate the Shawangunk-Kittatinny Ridge as a “National Raptor Migration Corridor,” a unique label that would carry no legal protection for the ridge. But more than 200 environmental groups have signed on to his campaign this summer, insisting it will help the Shawangunk-Kittatinny Ridge win future protections.

Turbines already are taking a heavy toll in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Game Commission released a report last spring showing the death rate is highest for bats, which additionally face being wiped out by a mysterious phenomenon called “white-nose syndrome.”

The evidence has mounted since studies in 2004 showed 1,500 to 4,000 bats annually were killed by the 44 turbines on West Virginia’s Backbone Mountain. In the Meyersdale area of southwestern Pennsylvania, 20 turbines killed 400 to 660 bats in a six-week study period, and researchers contend 80 percent of the casualties are hoary bats, red bats and silver-haired bats.

As a major migration route and breeding ground for raptors Amherst Island is well advised to seek a similar designation to give national recognition to the value of the island. Such a designation will likely bring in more birding people ,who will spend more dollars in the towns they come through to get there, and that will boost incentives to preserve the area.”

It is in Amherst Island’s best interest to argue that wind farms must be properly built to not interfere with bird, bat or butterfly migrations.

The full article can be viewed here

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