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Wind farms killing '20 times more eagles than previously thought', yet RSPB turn blind eye.

Wind turbines are slaughtering millions of birds and bats annually, according to the latest research by a charity group in America that is actually honest.

These alarming statistics though seem not to bother charity groups in the UK who are meant to be responsible for protecting these creatures.

As we have previously pointed out the RSPB have a rather hypocritical approach to wind farms in the UK that borders on the absurd.

On one hand they are happy to have a huge turbine at the Bedfordshire mansion they call home - The Lodge - and apparently even applied for permission to install one at their site at Loch Strathbeg, beside one of the biggest wildfowl staging posts in the country.

They also have a number of financially beneficial relationships with wind energy companies, notably ecotricity, which they would obviously not have entered into if the operation of wind farms posed any significant risk to wildlife or had other significant environmental impacts.

[Another Golden Eagle found dead after being struck by a wind turbine]

This is odd as the RSPB's attacks on moorland communities are not limited to birds, they cover almost any aspect of moorland life. Obviously, this includes landscape effects, as one of its favourite phrases is that “Grouse moors are industrial landscapes”.

Leaving to one side the inconvenient truth that the landscape they revile is beloved by millions and has inspired countless artist of every sort for centuries, what do the say about the landscape impact of wind turbines? Apparently, absolutely nothing.

There hasn't been much research into whether people prefer an apparently natural vista of purple heather and cotton grass, to one dotted with wind turbines, 100's of feet high.

There may be other reasons, why large sums of money have not been spent researching which view the public prefer, but the obvious one is that anyone asking the question would risk being certified. It is obvious that they are an eyesore, and an intrusion into the landscape, albeit one forced on us by climate change, and it is equally obvious that they are likely to have a profoundly deleterious impact on tourism.

But from RSPB, incandescent with vociferous rage at the idea of heather being slightly shorter in some places than others, silence

The next issue is their size and the need for them to be anchored by standing them in immense blocks of concrete, coupled with a network of roads and tracks needed to move the materials to construct them and allow regular inspection and maintenance.

These impacts dwarf the issues that grouse moors are criticised for. Mass protests and outrage about a grassy track and a repair to a bothy on a grouse moor. Tracks wider than a motorway slip road and concrete blocks bigger than a small factory unit sunk into deep peat? Silence.

The final issue is the toll the turbines take on the wildlife which flies around them or frequently into them. They can be a very effective way of killing birds and bats. The tips of the turbine blades are moving at immense speed in a circular motion that no bird or bat will have ever encountered in nature. Unsurprisingly, they can kill the best of flyers.

In other countries, those interested in conservation have done a considerable amount of research into the impact of turbines on natural systems, by way of killing or excluding birds, particularly, raptors.

In the USA it has been shown that large numbers of eagles and even larger numbers of harriers are killed by turbines as they migrate along the Rocky Mountains. One study examined the bodies of no less than 67 golden eagles killed in a large wind farm complex. Another found the carcases of 1,127 assorted raptors.

In Germany, research into the impact of 337 turbines, found the bodies of 36 sea eagles, 101 red kites, and 121 buzzards. These figures were not collected by some pressure group keen to attack wind energy, but by the State Bird Observatory of the Brandenburg Environment Agency.

They were at pains to point out that the data had been collected haphazardly, thus 'making the total number of collision victims in Germany likely to be far higher than officially listed'. Other species found killed by the 337 German turbines include short-eared owls, ospreys, harriers, merlin, eagle owls, rough legged buzzards and lesser spotted eagles.

We have previously referred to the wind farm toll in Norway where over 100 sea eagles have been killed by a wind farm. In Spain, another study showed the turbines killing booted eagles, kestrels, montagu's harriers, griffon and egyptian vultures.

In this country? A miracle. A real, 24-carat miracle.Nothing. These problems don't occur in the UK. How can we be sure?

Happily eagles and hen harriers are very likely to carry a geolocation tag and if anything untoward happens to them, their handlers can find the body and will tell the world. Won't they?

As far as can be ascertained virtually none of these tagged birds have ever had even a mildly unpleasant experience with a wind turbine. Had such a thing happened, RSPB would obviously have announced the fact.

With bats there is a similar anomaly. In other countries bats are killed in terrifyingly large numbers by wind turbines. They are in an even worse case than birds. Not only can they be killed, as birds are, by being struck by the rotating blades, they can also be killed or fatally injured by barotrauma, the effect of a catastrophic change in air pressure on the internal organs and ear drums of a bat passing close to the rotating turbine blade.

In other countries this is recognised as a significant cause of mortality and concern. In Germany, for example, it is estimated that turbines are killing over 300,000 bats every year, but here who knows, or perhaps, who cares?

The RSPB, are happy to comment on virtually any mammal issue related to upland management from voles to red deer, and yet seem strangely disinterested in even finding out if a similar carnage of rare, declining and protected bats is taking place in this country.

It is to not difficult to not find dead bats. They are small and readily scavenged and the ones with perforated ear drums will take some time to die of starvation and so will never be found or counted, even if they were looked for. But apparently it is not a problem here.

Can it really be true that the birds and bats that fly over the fields and moors of Britain are uniquely adept at avoiding wind turbines? Apparently so. Otherwise the ubiquitous and ever present Royal Society for the Protection of Everything would surely have mentioned it.

Yet, is it not curious, that this country is so different from Germany or Norway or Spain or Canada or the USA? Is it not strange that the UK is apparently the only country in the world where raptors and bats appear to be able to avoid turbines almost entirely?

It is of course true that if you do not look, you will not find, but that explanation, whilst it might work for bats or buntings, can hardly be used to explain the raptor anomaly.

Here, so many raptors are tagged and their fates determined apparently precisely, that there can be little doubt that someone knows. That someone is obviously the RSPB and its acolytes at Raptor Persecution UK, who tag these birds and who decide which ones they will tell the world about and which ones they will keep secret.


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