OPINION: Impact of turbines on birds blown out of proportion

THERE is no doubt wind turbines pose a risk to birds and research needs to continue to mitigate the threat they pose, particularly to birds of prey.

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These animals at the top of the food chain are slow breeders, so it only needs small numbers of them to die to significantly affect their populations.

But the problem is not nearly as significant as wind turbine bird death alarmists (WTBDA) claim.

Let's take the position of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), which is happy to make the case for more wind turbines, as long as planning factors in the needs of bird populations.

In 2013 the RSPB's conservation director, Martin Harper, said a large body of scientific evidence showed "appropriately located windfarms have negligible impacts" on bird populations.

Why all the fuss then?

Killing 400,000 birds sounds like a lot, but as a percentage of the birds human activity kills, it's not so damaging.

One study found nuclear reactors killed 300,000 and fossil fuel production killed 14million. That made them about 17 times more dangerous per gigawatt hour of electricity produced to birds than wind and nuclear power stations combined.

This carnage pales beside the slaughter of birds by domestic and feral cats, which kill between 300million and a billion a year.

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