Wind farm turbines take toll on birds of prey
22 September 2014
EAGLES, falcons and other raptors make up to a third of the estimated 1500 birds killed each year at Australia’s biggest wind farm.
The finding of an independent report for Macarthur Wind Farm operator AGL follows 12 monthly searches of 48 turbines at the 140-turbine operation in Victoria that found 576 bird carcasses.
After adjusting for birds eaten by scavengers between searches and the total 140 turbines, Australian Ecological Research Services estimated each turbine killed about 10 birds a year.
The analysis said this would include 500 raptors a year.
AGL has confirmed that 64 bird fatalities were found during the official searches and an additional 10 carcasses were found near turbines by maintenance personnel, landowners or ecologists when not undertaking scheduled carcass searches.
The total included eight brown falcons, seven nankeen kestrels, six wedge-tailed eagles, one black falcon, two black-shouldered kites and one spotted harrier.
But an AGL spokesman said the report had “shown no significant impact on threatened species”. The company said overall estimates of bird and bat mortality “are subject to several sources of bias which may result in inaccurate estimates”.
The report recommended more frequent searches of a smaller number of turbines to get a more accurate assessment.