Thursday, October 16, 2008

Buzzard Worship for the Masses: Alienating the Base

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Alienating the base? Who am I, John McCain?

No, but today I want to talk about something near and dear to the hearts of my legions and legions of readers: wind energy.

What can be more benign than a windmill, rotating blithely and generating electric current for bloated, over-consuming Americans? Windmills don't spill carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. They don't erode the ozone layer. They aren't gonna melt Santa Claus out of house and home by decimating the Arctic sea ice.

So, what's the problem with windmills?

Just this. They kill birds.

I don't have to tell you what particular birds I'm looking out for, but the Sacred Thunderbirds are not the only winged things that need fear the rotating windmills. Other large birds of prey are also vulnerable to windmill attack.

This seems a small price to pay for a push-back against global warming. But you're not an eagle. The eagle might have a different view of it.

The state of Maryland recently decided not to put windmills on the mountaintops in its state forest lands. The reasoning was that the windmills could kill birds. Including, but not limited to, that God/dess of the Sky, the Sacred Thunderbird.

Nor am I particularly enthusiastic about windmills offshore. Although most migratory waterbirds stick close to the water and hug the shoreline, some of the higher flyers could get far enough out to sea that they tangle with the windmills.

Brothers and sisters, do we need another way to depress the population of the Sacred Thunderbird? No windmills in the woods!

Perhaps I should speak to the presidential candidates about this.


sageweb said...

I had no idea they were killing birds..we have a ton of the windmills in the dessert. I say solar energy is a good non-lethal way to go.

-Fred. said...

The mass killing of birds by windmills is a myth, perpetuated by those that oppose wind power.


As the article states, the number of birds killed by flying into windows or killed by automobiles dwarfs the number of birds killed by wind turbines.


Anne Johnson said...

Then let's stop using automobiles. I agree they are much more of a menace to Sacred Thunderbirds than are windmills.

Jaspenelle said...

If we stopped using automobiles, we wouldn't need the windmills to reduce our carbon footprint. Double win? ;-)

kazari said...

I had to weigh in on this one. A long time ago, I was an environmental science student, studying, among other things environmental law.
We studied a case where a series of wind turbines went up in a migration path for an endangered bird species. The power company, as part of the agreement, had to hire a full time person to collect any dead birds and study the phenomenon.
This poor guy had to walk under every turbine every day, to find these poor parrots.
So, how many birds did he find in 3 years?
Just one.
And it was established that it died of natural causes.
Look, maybe I'm wrong, and they've done more research...

jarjar_head said...

If I may hop on the bandwagon:

Birds Make Peace With Turbines

~The Muse

Anonymous said...

Aside from the killing of birds what large turbines do is make a lot of racket and they definitely disturb the wildlife in areas where they are situated.

There is another side to this coin. I had a NY DEC (environmental police) officer tell me that he watched a hawk fly alongside an 18 wheeler and then veer across the lanes to the median to catch it's prey. He said he thought it was learned behavior and might explain why I had seen so many dead hawks in the breakdown (which was what prompted our conversation).

It would be nice if our hamfisted interactions with the environment increased the numbers of Right Whales and unicorns instead of racoons, gulls and rock doves.


yellowdog granny said...

they'll just use it as an excuse to 'drill baby drill.'

Aquila ka Hecate said...

Also, up to 5 million migratory songbirds are killed by flying into cellphone towers each year.
Anne, I hear you on the Sacred Thunderbird - but we need to be blowing up or taking down the bloody cellphone towers most urgently.
Are there any stats about Buzzards vs cellphone towers?

Terri in Joburg

Hillbilly Fairy said...

i've heard that the bird thing is exaggerated too. let's not forget about the thousands of animals that are killed by oil spills. no source of energy is going to be 100% wonderful -- i'm sure if we looked deeply enough, solar would have its problems.

Cat Chapin-Bishop said...

I see that I am not the first to post here. However, perhaps it is worth adding a link to a site that examines some of the reason for the belief that wind turbines are bird-killers: older turbine designs were significantly more dangerous than modern ones.

Check it out.