Nineteen big windmills are proposed for Highland County ridges. A new state report says: • The windmills could kill large numbers of birds and bats. • They could drive away some tourists. • More study is needed, including collecting animal carcasses if the windmills go up.
Library filed under Impact on Birds from Virginia
MONTEREY — A study conducted at Highland New Wind Development’s site on Allegheny Mountain last fall found a higher rate of nocturnal migration on Red Oak Knob and Tamarack than at sites where other such studies have been conducted.
This study focused on nocturnal migration patterns and flight behaviors during the peak periods of passerine and bat migration during fall 2005 at the proposed Highland New Wind Development in Highland Count. Virginia. The key results of our study were: (I) the mean overall fall passage rate was 385 targetsikmh; (2)mean nightly passage rates ranged from 9 to 2,762 targetshh, (3) the percentage of targets passing below 125 m agl was 11.5%; (4) the estimated turbine passage rate of nocturnal migrants passing within the airspace occupied by each proposed turbine was 3.4-24.7 migrantslturbineid during the fall study period; (5) fall migrants flying at or below maximal turbine height consisted of 88% birds and 12% bats; and (6) passage rates, flight altitudes, and visual observation rates of birds and bats did not differ between the two survey sites within the project area.
I would like to think that the eagle was staking out its territory and, symbolically, making a statement, to wit: 'Don't tread on me!'
What are we in Highland to make of these statements and actions? Clearly, these men have a stake in seeing turbines on Highland’s ridges. Rather than responsibly considering the bird and bat impacts in any sort of serious way, they go to great lengths to stifle or belittle credible research recommending that wind turbines be put on hold until bat mortality can be understood and mitigated and until bird impacts can be studied.
Unlike in the west, the vast majority of birds likely to be killed at wind turbines in the east are neotropical migrants - which pass through our region mostly at night. Many of these species are already under severe pressure due to loss and fragmentation of breeding and wintering habitat.