The problem with bird kills around wind turbines never gets much attention.

But when we look at the number of birds killed each year by wind farms, one might wonder why not.

In Wyoming, PacifiCorp along with research partners is launching a study to reduce bird strikes.

“This is an extraordinary partnership of scientists, federal regulators, wildlife managers, a nongovernmental organization, academia, developers and utility companies working together to find solutions to reduce the impacts of critical electric infrastructure on birds,” said Travis Brown, director of compliance and permitting for PacifiCorp. (Sweatwater Now).

The study will take place in Glenrock, Wyoming.

28 blades have been painted and 8 in will be painted in 2024.

Then they will wait and watch the results.

The intent is to see how the painted blades affect fatality rates for eagles and other birds during the day.

The bats at night are another problem.

The hope is that these birds can perceive painted blades and it will prompt them to stay clear.

Some studies in Norway show that one painted blad among the typical 3 of a wind turbine wards birds off.

Bats would not see the paint. So what about them?

“The research team has produced a very innovative approach, allowing them to accurately estimate the benefits of painted turbine blades in the hope of minimizing impacts on eagles and other diurnal birds. PacifiCorp’s facility allows us to study this interaction at an impressive scale, with 36 painted turbines and even more control turbines to include in the experiment. We’re honored to be part of the team and excited to see the results as the study progresses,” said Shilo Felton, senior scientist at the Renewable Energy Wildlife Institute. (Sweatwater Now).

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Two men are facing criminal charges in Nebraska after they shot and killed a North American bald eagle with the intent to eat it. (USA TODAY).

Bald eagles have been a protected species since 1940.

Eagles and their nests are federally protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Wounding or killing an eagle can result in a fine of $100,000 and one year in prison for a first offense.

A second violation is a felony and carries heftier punishments.

UNLESS YOU KILL THAT BIRD WITH A WIND TURBINE!

That's legal. Wind farms are even given permits allowing it.

 

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CODY, Wyo. (AP) — The rush to build wind farms to combat climate change is colliding with the preservation of one of the U.S. West’s most spectacular predators — the golden eagle — as the species teeters on the edge of decline.

November 23, 2013. A Wyoming wind farm, just outside of Casper, is fined by the federal government for killing a golden eagle.  (CSM).

Eagle deaths lead to Duke Energy Corp. paying $1 million for birds killed at two Wyoming wind farms. It was the first time a US wind energy company had been successfully prosecuted for the deaths of eagles or other protected birds. (CSM).

The answer from the Obama Administration was to give wind farms permits, allowing them to kill birds.

Wyoming is home to one of the largest habitats of the golden eagle. They used to be endangered. But over the years, through a lot of work, their numbers have stabilized.

Yet they are considered to be on the edge of slipping back into the endangered species category if they lose too many more.

One of the biggest dangers to birds of all kinds, and bats, is wind turbines.

Yet Wyoming is building them in record numbers, putting the lives of these birds and many other raptors in danger once again.

Energy companies eager to take advantage of federal green energy subsidies are still putting up wind turbines in Wyoming at a frantic pace, with many of them being right in the golden eagle’s prime hunting and nesting territory. It’s estimated that hundreds of the birds have died in turbine blades in the past few years and it’s only getting worse. But scientists claim that climate change will kill off the birds also, so it’s a case of “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” (Associated Press).

 

The AP interviewed scientists who work to save the golden eagles. They are primarily working on tagging them.

Dr. Charles Preston of the Teton Raptor Center in Wilson, Wyoming said that nobody is suggesting stopping the construction of new wind turbines in the mountains.

 

The humble Gunnison sage-grouse, also found in the area has been declining in number. The federal government canceled oil drilling leases to protect those birds.

The Kansas City Star just this week on the subject. He admits that wind turbines kill a lot of birds, but says that’s a distraction from bigger problems.

Yes, wind turbines do kill birds. A 2014 study cited by the United States Geological Survey estimated that 368,000 bird deaths are caused by wind turbines annually.

That study was done back in 2014. How many more are being killed today now that we have so many more wind farms?

 

 

 

 

Hot Air Balloon Threads Wind River Canyon Wyoming

Gallery Credit: Glenn Woods

A Stunning Look At Wyoming Life Through The Eyes Of Photographer Chris Dickinson

Chris Dickinson is a premier western photographer based out of Utah who can often be found propped on his elbows in the mud, boots covered in manure, facing a rearing horse, all for the sake of the perfect shot. He's a man who does whatever it takes to achieve greatness. Below is a gallery of his pictures taken in Wyoming.

Gallery Credit: Chris Dickinson

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