Categories

Archives

Bird brains

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a charity in the UK that aims to protect birds.

Or, maybe not. A huge wind turbine is to be installed just a half mile away from a RSPB center in East Yorkshire, and while local residents are opposed to the 150ft turbine, the RSPB has no objection:

The RSPB insists there is no evidence that there will be an impact on seabirds or birds in surrounding farmland. Ian Kendall, site manager at Bempton, said there was no evidence that turbines would impact on seabirds or farmbirds.

Mr Kendall said: “As a scientific organisation which we largely are, we can only state facts; the facts are that it is not going to affect the seabird colony at all because they don’t feed on the fields, they feed on the sea. “We have eight species of seabirds here and they are completely and utterly oceanic. Guillemots, razorbills and puffins are hardly capable of walking on the land; these birds have developed over the millennia to be completely and utterly dependent on the sea. “Pink-footed geese pass down the coast and they can quite easily see turbines.

“The fact is birds avoid turbines in the same way that they avoid buildings.”

Uh oh. The American Bird Conservancy has news for the RSPB:

…estimates from various studies show that up to one billion birds may be killed each year in collisions with buildings; another billion may die due to predation by outdoor cats; up to 50 million may die in collisions with communication towers; perhaps 15 million die annually due to pesticide poisoning and there is growing concern about bird mortality caused by the burgeoning wind industry.

The RSPB’s position on wind power is ‘long-term’:

Climate change poses the single greatest long-term threat to birds and other wildlife, and the RSPB recognises the essential role of renewable energy in addressing this problem.

In other words, it’s better to blend birds with giant shredders today than have them deal with slightly milder weather down the road.

Another UK organization, the National Trust has just declared itself ‘deeply skeptical’ of wind power:

For years the conservation charity has been a supporter of renewable energy, including wind, to reduce carbon emissions and help fight global warming. But in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Sir Simon Jenkins warned that wind was the “least efficient” form of green power, and risked blighting the British landscape.

He said “not a week goes by” without the charity having to fight plans for wind farms that threaten the more than 700 miles of coastline, 28,500 acres of countryside and more than 500 properties owned by the Trust. “Broadly speaking the National Trust is deeply sceptical of this form of renewable energy,” he said.

If you’re in the giving to charity mood, the National Trust may be a better choice than the RSPB.