Monday, October 31, 2011

Windfarm Warbler Deaths

Nothing stirs up angst like mass deaths of birds, whatever the cause.  The recent news that 484 Blackpolls had died at a the new windfarm on Laurel Mountain in Kentucky had my state listserve, MassBird, all in a knot.  Comments rapidly turned to the fraught Cape Wind project, and solar, and general angst.

Now some facts are emerging that complicate the issue, namely that the deaths were not due to turbine collisions but due to lights left on at the adjoining power substation.  Birds, attracted to the lights on a foggy night, collided with the building.  The difference between this event and routine deaths at skyscrapers in, say, Boston, is that Laurel Mountain in on migratory flyway. (Critics rightly point out that Cape Wind will be on the flyway of wintering ducks such as scoters, which migrate in huge numbers.)

There is a good round-up of the issue and associated reading by Dave Irons at Birdfellow.

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