Birds and Wind Farms

To: <>
Subject: Birds and Wind Farms
From: " Chris Lloyd" <>
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2008 13:22:31 +1100
While I broadly agree many bird species will learn about some of the hazards we 
erect in their habitat. However WIRES stats indicate a few that they stubbornly 
don't want to acquire a competency in:
  a.. Windows were previously mentioned and these are a major source of 
Kingfishers, Koels, Channel Bills and assorted others. Interestingly the vast 
bulk of kingfishers and cuckoos are dispersing juvenile/sub-adults. 
  b.. Owls, frogmouths, nightjars and falconidae are most frequently in our 
hands because of moving objects - mainly the car but also fence wire. These can 
be all ages.
  c.. Penguins, cormorants and other diving foragers persistent turn up with 
propeller damage despite living and breeding for generations in areas where 
this turbine has been common. Fortunately we see far less of these injuries 
largely because of the speed of the two-stroke jet propulsion of the jet-ski - 
a spray of feathers is the only artefact.
While Darwin suggested this behavioural learning it would appear more to be in 
the context of static objects. The fast moving vehicle coming laterally into a 
raptor which has locked a target by sight/sound seems to be something they 
don't learn in the wild.

There are probably a few real limiting factors for learning to avoid fast 
moving objects. These could specific adaptations of the eyes and the way and 
priority in which visual information is processed by some species.

The nature of shiny and reflective surfaces affect species is also an issue. 
Anyone who has every had a Pee Wee monotonously deal with their rearvision 
mirror or a kooka bloody a window with constant attacks will know this 
phenomenon. Less well know is how cormorants draw little distinction between 
the water surface they have adapted to penetrate and oil which they haven't.

I doubt we will get all wild species to adapt to turbines in time. Some will 
not have the numbers to carry out such a long term suck-it and see experiment. 
I don't suppose we might consider reducing our energy consumption instead?

Chris Lloyd
Training Officer
PO Box 260
Forestville NSW 2087

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