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Turbines threaten bird population, ecosystem

Exercise your right as an American and be heard. Call the General Land Office at (512) 463-5001 and demand that the concerns of the scientific community be met before turbines are erected in the Gulf of Mexico. Absent that, we may finally experience Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.

We, the FeatherFest Committee of the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council, have been planning and revising this event since last year’s successful effort, and this year should be our best ever. Folks like Mary Jean Hayden, Gordon Nunn, Sid Steffans, Tom Linton and our fearless leader, Mort Voller, have covered Galveston with glory, and I am humbled to have worked with them.

I do find a cruel irony, though, that as we celebrate perhaps the most incredible biological event on our planet, we are also planning an activity that could wipe our neotropical songbird migrants right off the face of Earth. I am referring to the proposed wind turbines the Texas government seems ready to embrace, with newspapers uncharacteristically joining the fanfare without doing their homework.

Let’s start with a little common sense. Hawks, with arguably the best eyesight in the animal kingdom, were slaughtered in California by these turbines. They only flew by the light of day, and have tremendous aerial alacrity. By contrast, millions of songbird migrants will be returning from the tropics, exhausted from the arduous flight, often arriving under cover of darkness, their eyes stinging from salt spray and flying... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

We, the FeatherFest Committee of the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council, have been planning and revising this event since last year’s successful effort, and this year should be our best ever. Folks like Mary Jean Hayden, Gordon Nunn, Sid Steffans, Tom Linton and our fearless leader, Mort Voller, have covered Galveston with glory, and I am humbled to have worked with them.
 
I do find a cruel irony, though, that as we celebrate perhaps the most incredible biological event on our planet, we are also planning an activity that could wipe our neotropical songbird migrants right off the face of Earth. I am referring to the proposed wind turbines the Texas government seems ready to embrace, with newspapers uncharacteristically joining the fanfare without doing their homework.
 
Let’s start with a little common sense. Hawks, with arguably the best eyesight in the animal kingdom, were slaughtered in California by these turbines. They only flew by the light of day, and have tremendous aerial alacrity. By contrast, millions of songbird migrants will be returning from the tropics, exhausted from the arduous flight, often arriving under cover of darkness, their eyes stinging from salt spray and flying directly at the southward-facing blades.
 
The local environmental leaders see full well the prescription for disaster. Our songbirds have already plummeted in their population, having faced such manmade ills as deforestation, pesticides, collisions with cars and tall structures, critical habitat loss of coastal stopovers, feral cats and kids with BB guns (to name a few). Now, with their population already dropping precipitously, we’re arranging quite the welcome team as they near their North American landfall.
 
We conservationists favor wind energy, as any sane person should. But there is a good chance that a Gulf wind farm could cause catastrophic avian losses and plunge songbird populations below a critical mass from which they cannot recover. It is imperative that any citizen reading this demand from their elected officials that we conduct exhaustive research approved by the scientific community to examine the matter of avian mortality.
 
Exercise your right as an American and be heard. Call the General Land Office at (512) 463-5001 and demand that the concerns of the scientific community be met before turbines are erected in the Gulf of Mexico. Absent that, we may finally experience Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.
 
Jim Stevenson is the executive director of the Galveston Ornithological Society.


Source: http://news.galvestondailyn...

APR 3 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/2027-turbines-threaten-bird-population-ecosystem
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