Increasing Wind Power in the Energy Portfolio May Decrease Annual Bird Fatality

A Vegan Does Science

Introduction

As we decrease our use of fossil fuels for energy production and increase our reliance on alternative energy production, organizations such as the Audubon Society have publicized worries that wind farms will increase bird mortality (Bryce, 2016). Such concerns should be handled seriously, considering US wind turbines currently kill between 140,000 and 328,000 birds annually (Loss et al., 2013) and killing of many of these bird species is considered illegal under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Endangered Species Act, and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Erickson et al., 2005). Given wind turbine placement is best in areas with increased wind and that migrating birds selectively use winds to decrease flight costs in migration (Alerstam, 1979), it should not be shocking that bird mortality has been shown to increase during migration (Jain et al. 2009a), further posing a problem to wind power development under the Migratory Bird Treaty…

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