Wind Farms Little Threat To Most Bird Species, New Study Says

A new study has found that wind farms do not have long-term detrimental effects on most bird species, but that populations of some species can decline during site construction.

In a long-term analysis of breeding and population trends for 10 bird species at 18 wind farms across the UK, a team of conservationists found that most species were able to co-exist with the wind turbines. They found, however, that population densities for three species living near wind farms — snipe, curlew, and red grouse — were lower during construction than before construction.

While red grouse numbers recovered after construction was completed, the population densities for both snipe and curlew remained depressed, according to the study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology. “It shows that there can be serious species-level impacts in the construction phase, so construction in the right place is absolutely key,” Martin Harper, UK conservation director for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, told the Guardian.

“But what it hasn’t shown is that wind farms are ‘bird blenders.’” In the UK alone, more than 3,000 wind turbines at 300 wind farms have been installed in recent years, according to RenewableUK, a trade organization for the wind and marine energy sectors.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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