Keeping wind turbines and bird mortality in perspective

» By | Published 22 Mar 2011

Lost in the excitement of last week’s EWEA 2011 Annual Event in Brussels was a press release from the American Bird Conservancy noting that at least 500 million birds are killed in the US each year by cats.

A comparison of that figure to the 440,000 birds reportedly killed annually in the US by collisions with wind turbines surely must put into perspective the anti-wind lobby’s ardently exaggerated claim that birds are overly threatened by turbines.

That’s because the numbers tell the tale: In the US, each year wind turbines kill 0.088% of the birds killed by house cats.

In a story headlined “Tweety Was Right: Cats Are a Bird’s No. 1 Enemy,” The New York Times on Monday noted the study indicates that pet house cats pose a far greater threat to birds even though public attention has focused on wind turbines.

The NYT article reported that one of the authors of the study, Peter Marra of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, said the leading cause of bird deaths over all remained collisions with buildings, windows and towers, followed by predators.

“I’m excited about wind; we just have to be careful where and how we put the turbines,” Marra was quoted as saying.