Several years ago I wrote to the gamekeeper associations and warned them that their members were going to get the blame for raptor deaths by wind turbines. My concerns were dismissed then. Not so now.
The shoddy monitoring of turbines by the wind industry is truly pathetic. Anyone with any sense would know that all birds that are struck will not all fall within 50m of the towers. If injured they will crawl into undergrowth to die, never to be found or be removed by the predators that have learned turbines mean easy fast food as photographed fox tracks around turbine bases show. The only way to get a true picture is to have the turbines independently monitored 24/7.
I have heard it said that grouse thrive under wind farms on shooting estates because the turbines wipe out many of the raptors that feed on them. It is not in the interests of the wind industry or Scottish Government to let the public know how many thousands of birds and bats their turbines are killing. The public will not like it and may well demand the slaughter ceases and that would mean no more turbines because it is impossible to stop. It is happening all over the world and birds and bats are dying in their millions with whole eco-systems under threat. It will be happening in Scotland despite the denials and lack of data. If you don’t monitor competently you will not get the data that’s there to be found.
I was also told by a wind developer at a public consultation that birds “learn” to miss the blades. When the tips are travelling at up to 200 mph? A ludicrous comment by any standards.
Wind farm maps are not now readily available from Scottish Natural Heritage or the Scottish Government. I would suggest that an overlay of an operational wind farm map and a map that shows areas where protected raptors are in decline would show some very eerie similarities.
From our home we have noticed a marked decline in the amount of red kites we see since Fairburn wind farm became operational. A coincidence? We don’t believe so.