Deniers are crowing over a new study in Nature that’s supposedly claiming wind turbines are killing three-fourths of birds in the areas around them. Obviously that’s absurd, so what the flock is going on?
This new myth took flight with a Daily MailOnline story with a headline claiming “Wind farms are the 'new apex predators': Blades kill off 75 percent of buzzards, hawks and kites that live nearby, study shows.” The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) quickly posted the Mail story on its site, Watts Up With That? (WUWT) lazily copied GWPF’s copy of the Mail, and JoNova excerpted it.
The problem is that the study did not, at all, in any way or at any point, show that wind turbine blades “kill off 75 percent of buzzards, hawks and kites.” While it mentions once, in passing, that turbines can kill birds and bats by direct impact, the study has no tally of bird corpses or anything dealing with avian mortality at the study site.
What the study instead showed is that there were four times fewer birds flying around the 20-year-old wind farms than there were flying around adjacent plots of land without turbines. Per the study author in a press release, turbines act like predators “not in the sense of killing [birds], but by reducing the presence of raptors in those areas.”