Ilona Amos

Golden eagles living close to one of Scotland’s first major wind farms are
thriving, according to a pioneering 20-year study.

Monitoring of the protected birds of prey, which nest near the 65-turbine
Beinn an Tuirc wind farm in Argyll, has shown the scheme has had no adverse
impact on their survival and breeding.

A plentiful supply of wild food for eaglets is just one of the reasons the
birds of prey have thrived near the Beinn an Tuirc wind farm

The study began in 1997, ahead of construction of the wind farm, after
scoping work for developer ScottishPower Renewables identified the Kintyre
site as a nesting territory for Scotland’s unofficial national bird.

The energy firm minimised potential risks to the eagles by erecting the
turbines further south than was originally planned and clearing a forestry
plantation to create more favourable moorland habitat to the north.

Work was also done on 1,800 hectares of land to control livestock grazing
and encourage wildlife prey such as red grouse to flourish.

Now senior ecologists have confirmed the pair of golden eagles resident
there are among the most successful breeders in the region and the
100m-high turbines appear to have had no ill effects on their existence.

The same female golden eagle has occupied the Beinn an Tuirc site since
monitoring began, and was joined by her current mate in 2007.

She had laid eggs with a previous mate but none had ever hatched. However,
six chicks have successfully fledged since 2008.

Peter Robson, the energy firm’s senior ecologist, said: “We’ve been able to
demonstrate how you can plan a wind farm in an area where there are
sensitivities. In this case we were able to identify how the golden eagles
used the territory and design the wind farm so it didn’t overlap with that
range.

“The only way they can raise two chicks in a year is if they have an
abundance of food, so our priority was to make sure they had that.

“Our monitoring has confirmed our assumption that they wouldn’t go over the
wind farm. That’s the main learning point from it.

“In the 15 years since the turbines have been operating there have only
been two observed flights of an eagle over the wind farm, and that’s out of
thousands.

“We’re very confident that the amount of time they spend over the turbines
is incredibly small.”

Conservationists have welcomed the report, pointing out that the research
has provided valuable information that will help understand the impacts of
onshore wind on wildlife and inform the planning process for future
renewable energy projects.

Aedan Smith, head of policy and development for RSPB Scotland, said: “Beinn
an Tuirc has been operating for quite a while now – it’s one of the
longest-running onshore wind farms in Scotland. When it was first proposed
we were initially quite cautious because it was so close to golden eagle
territory.

“But ScottishPower Renewables have really shown a lot of commitment to it
from the outset, and did a lot of work to try to create alternative habitat
for the golden eagles, which is really useful, but also implemented this
monitoring project.

“But this is also a good illustration of how important it is for companies
to invest in nature conservation when there is likely to be an impact on
the natural environment and ensure that any adverse effects are mitigated.”

He added: “This study is a good example of a wind farm operator taking its
responsibilities to the surrounding wildlife seriously, and we need to see
more long-term studies of this sort taking place at operational wind farms
across Scotland.

Ecologist Iain Mackenzie of Natural Research Projects, which carried the
monitoring work for ScottishPower Renewables, said: “This has been a
fascinating project to work on over the last 20 years.

“We’ve learned much about how golden eagles interact with wind farms, and
the project has highlighted how careful planning can allow renewable energy
projects to co-exist positively with upland wildlife.

“Chicks fledged from near the Beinn an Tuirc wind farm are helping to
ensure that these iconic birds continue to occupy the Scottish uplands.”


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1 Comment

Jim Wiegand · April 5, 2017 at 5:36 pm

Despite the nonsense printed in this article, Scotland’s golden eagle population is declining rapidly and this is being covered up with fraudulent research. In a 2014 report published by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) found that Southern Scotland could potentially support up to 16 eagle pairs. In 1992 there were 68 nesting pairs in this region of Scotland, there were no wind farms, and nesting success was not a factor in this region. Presently, there are no more than 2 to 4 pairs, with limited nesting success and wind turbines that kill adult eagles do cause nesting failures.

The UK is very aware of all this, but in order to keep their fraudulent green economy going, they lie about it. Instead of being truthful they have been inflating eagle numbers with bogus eagle population surveys and have set up a special a Lottery Fund allocated to translocate eagles into the areas of golden eagle habitat abandonment.

The unmistakable fraud taking place in Scotland is this…….. Scotland has only reported a handful of eagles being killed in the last several years by wind turbines. Yet wind turbines have been proven to be the #1 cause of golden eagle mortality when eagle have to share habitat with a wind energy project. ……………….”We recorded 113 deaths over 88 months among a radio-tagged sample of 257 eagles. Fifty-two were attributed to wind turbine blade strikes.” An eagle mortality number about 4 times higher than any other form of mortality. Of these radio tagged eagles, 21 eagle carcasses were removed from the data under very suspicious circumstances.

Eagle carcasses have been hidden for decades and the industry has reported very few of them over the years. Now after lying by omission for decades, this industry has permission to kill thousands each year. In Dec. a new rule was passed allowing “industry” to kill 7518 bald eagles annually. Since 1997 approximately 35,000 eagle carcasses have been secretly shipped to the Denver Eagle repository and their origin is an Interior Department top secret. Yet in 1997 when US installed
turbine capacity was only 2200 MW…………… The USFWS admitted that wind turbines were one of the primary killers of eagles. Today Scotland has nearly 3 times this amount and you are being lied to.

Yes some golden eagles are nesting within ten miles of the Altamont Pass boundary. But every year young eagles disperse only to be killed at Altamont turbines. This cycle of destruction has gone on for 30 years and turbines are why CA’s golden eagle population has declined by 80-90%. To even suggest golden eagles are compatible with these turbines is a disgrace and fraudulent. The very first year 1MW turbines were constructed at Altamont 38 turbines killed 4 golden eagles.

As a wildlife expert and researcher I am aware of the fake research produced by this industry. Since 1985 this industry has hid their slaughter to thousands of eagles and millions of birds annually. The Interior Department allows all this with voluntary rules and this represents the wall of corruption the good people in the country are up against. For their fake research, this industry has given themselves small mortality search areas and infrequent searches because it is good for business. This industry allows employees to handle, hide or move carcasses during studies because it is good for business. This industry hides and does not report carcasses because it is good for business.

Considering that at least 90% of wind turbine mortality is hidden with rigged research and when MW hours per energy source are considered, wind energy is at least 500 times more deadly for birds than with other energy source. It has not been reported but easily the biggest killer of Scotland’s once fabulous golden eagle population is wind energy. I have look over the research, this is a rapidly disappearing population and fraudulent research is covering this up.

This is an industry that has sold themselves with fraud as a gateway to a rosy future, while picking everyone pocketbooks and fast tracking many species on a path of extinction. Pretending these turbines do not slaughter Scotland’s golden eagles is insanity.

For a glimpse at proof of this ongoing scientific fraud, read this on the internet…………. Slaughtering Endangered Species with “Clean” and “Green” Energy.

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