Melissa Meehan
Wind farms might be considered a clean form of energy but the giant turbine
blades are proving a hazard to birds, including critically-endangered
species, a conservation group warns.
Critically-endangered species are among those being killed, BirdLife
Tasmania spokesman Eric Woehler said on Tuesday.
“The blade is sometimes approaching 300 kilometres per hour, so the birds
don’t recognise that as a threat and don’t change their behaviour around
them,” Dr Woehler told AAP.
“We’re building all of these things, and we need to have renewable energy –
but it has to be done in such a way to not make things worse for critically
endangered species.”
Dr Woehler was unable to quantify the bird deaths but said that
anecdotally, as more wind farms were emerging, greater numbers of birds
were being found dead with blade-strike injuries.
Last year alone, 29 wedge-tailed Eagles died after flying into overhead
powerlines associated with Tasmanian wind farms, he added.
The island state already had three wind farms, but another 10 were in the
works and the “most worrying” is the looming largest in the southern
hemisphere on Robbins Island, in far northwest Tasmania.
“Its turbines will threaten migratory Arctic shorebirds, some already
listed as critically endangered, that make the Robbins Passage-Boullanger
Bay wetland complex their southern summer home,” Dr Woehler said.
The island is used by migrating orange-bellied parrots and tens of
thousands of other shorebirds.
Wetlands need to be crossed for construction on the island.
“It might be windy, but they are not looking at other environmental
issues,” he said.
Birdlife Tasmania is calling for a strategic approach to wind farms that
takes in all environmental effects from both state and federal governments.

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