The wind industry insists its turbines safely co-exist with birds; that the risk of bird mortality at a modern wind energy facility is low due to proper pre-construction assessments.
Two eyewitness accounts from last fall tell a different story.
The first incident took place at the Wolfe Island wind facility located in Canadian waters between Ontario and New York State. The 86 Siemens 2.3MW turbines began commercial operation in June 2009.
On Friday morning September 30 at 9:30 AM it was surprising to personally witness the destruction of a flight of Canadian Geese by one of the Wolfe Island turbines.
Here is what happened from a clear view second floor window at our home on Tibbetts Point Rd [Cape Vincent, NY]. I watched geese lift off and form up along the shore of Wolfe Island. At about a hundred feet of altitude they wheeled into the wind, headed in a west/southwesterly direction. As their climb into a headwind slowly took them over Wolfe the wind speed gauge at our house continued to read a strong and steady 22-25 mph. It was overcast. The river was rolling.
Crossing Wolfe they flew into the plane of spinning turbine blades. This one turbine is directly across from our home and closer to us at about a mile and a half. Through 8X binoculars the carnage was mesmerizing.
Imagine a scene of blade impacts repeatedly knocking dark puffs of feathers against a grey sky. With such a strong wind, limp bodies seemed to be blown backwards out of the turbine. Amazingly the rear of the flight followed into the blades. They seemed oblivious to the destruction of their leaders. With strong headwinds slowing their passage the period of danger and destruction was prolonged. After about two thirds entered this gauntlet the flight finally broke off, lost it's V shape and scattered.
I called loudly to my wife to run upstairs but by then it was over. The time was ten maybe fifteen seconds. It was strange to sit and watch this happen in silence. I could hear none of their honking. It seemed so odd to witness movements that suddenly changed from the beauty of ordered flight to instant plunging death. It made such an impression that details were entered into my log that day.
Those log details and recalled impressions are now shared. Draw from them what you will.
This story is not unique. In December, New York resident Kelly Johnson-Eilola described the horror she witnessed when traveling upstate New York near Noble Environmental's Ellenburg wind energy facility.
I drove through some very thick fog. As I traveled state Route 190 from Ellenburg to Brainardsville my fog lights illuminated one of the grizzliest scenes I have experienced. I counted 15 bloody, mutilated corpses of snow geese spread out over several miles.
I counted only those on the road because those were the only ones I could see due to the heavy fog. I do not know how many more were spread across the yards and crossroads.
Shortly after passing state Route 374, I noticed there were no more dead birds. I only saw the dead birds as I drove near the wind turbines.
The big corporation and landowners who stand to make large sums of money putting up wind towers of monstrous heights in the towns of Hopkinton and Parishville keep telling us that the towers are safe.
The wind industry propaganda says that windows kill more birds than wind turbines. How many geese have flown into your windows? I can’t say I have ever known that to happen.
But I do know that last night a whole flock of geese flying over the woods and farms their ancestors have always traveled were smashed, battered and thrown to their death.
I can only pray that no humans were injured when the falling dead geese struck them or their vehicles.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that 440,000 birds are killed yearly by wind turbines and related infrastructure. The events described here are not isolated incidents. What is unique is that the destruction was witnessed and made public.