Here's a stomach-churning video of a wind turbine karate-chopping a vulture. Watching it will probably change the way you look at wind turbines. (Seriously, bird-lovers be warned: It is intense.)
This video, originally captured by a tourist in Greece, vividly illustrates what happens 440,000 times a year, according to the American Bird Conservancy. If that sounds like a lot — it's nearly one bird every minute — just imagine what will happen as wind power ramps up to many times its current footprint.
Fortunately, there are solutions. ABC says that bird strikes can be minimized if regulations force wind power companies to:
• Site their farms mostly on land that's already disturbed (I.e. farmland.) Also, keeping them out of migratory flight paths will reduce the threat.
• Make the transmission lines that connect to wind farms more bird-friendly, as per the recommendations of the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee.
• Carefully monitor the impact of wind farms on birds.
• Compensate the families of affected birds. Birds don't use money, though, so instead, the money could be used to buy land to be set aside as bird habitat.
We're surprised that ABC didn't list any technological solutions. At least one scientist suggested that painting wind turbines purple — or really, anything but white — could help.
Policy Statement on Wind Energy and Bird-Smart Wind Guidelines, American Bird Conservancy.