Posted by: WCFN | June 21, 2017

Greater Prairie Chicken in peril

Wind farms may cause extinction of Greater Prairie Chicken

The following scientific paper has come to our attention, published by Science Daily on 6 May 2015:
Vulnerable grassland birds abandon mating sites near wind turbines – Central Ornithology Publication Office

Quote: “The findings of this study reinforce the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommendation that no new wind energy development should be done within an eight-kilometer buffer around active lek sites.”
Note: “lek sites” refer to the reproduction areas of the Greater Prairie Chicken.

The study has found that these birds may abandon their leks as far as 8-km away from a wind turbine. This makes a large area. Multiply this by thousands of wind turbines installed or to be installed in the Great Plains and you have a “threatened” species squeezed out of its habitat.

This is why the US Fish & Wildlife Service has come up with this recommendation. The question is: will local authorities respect the wish of the FWS? This remains to be seen. Based on our experience, the wind industry will run roughshod over this obstacle to its development. It has an extremely powerful lobby, funded by taxpayers through the Production Tax Credit.

The saddest part of all this is that wind turbines do not even save on harmful emissions, because they need fossil fuel power stations to regulate their variable, uncontrollable production. And while ramping up and down all day, these back-up plants spew twice as much pollution into the atmosphere, like a car caught in city traffic. Here lies the whole controversy about wind turbines, and many retired engineers are not afraid to say that they are useless.

Not only that, but they are harmful to boot: ill-effects of infrasound on neighbors, carnage of birds and bats, high cost of subsidies, high electricity prices, destruction of jobs, etc.


  1. […] 1) – A study found that wind farms may tip some rare species into accelerated extinction. In 2015, a peer-reviewed study of a population of Egyptian vultures in Southern Spain concluded: “Population viability analyses estimated an annual decline of 3–4% of the breeding population under current conditions. Our results indicate that only by combining different management actions in the breeding area, especially by removing the most important causes of human-related mortality (poisoning and collisions on wind farms), will the population grow and persist in the long term. Reinforcement with captive breeding may also have positive effects but only in combination with the reduction in causes of non-natural mortality.”  STUDY: Action on multiple fronts, illegal poisoning and wind farm planning, is required to reverse the decline of the Egyptian vulture in Southern Spain In other words: if the causes of the decline are not removed, extinction will follow in Southern Spain. But how can we stop poisoning? Spanish authorities have had little success with the hunters and farmers who lace carcasses with poison to kill foxes and other predators. A more vigorous enforcement of existing laws is therefore necessary, and new ideas are welcome for stopping that harmful practice. As for wind turbines, it would be relatively easy to stop the massacre: by dismantling those wind farms that kill Egyptian vultures. Dismantling entirely, because removing only the most deadly turbines will not bring the expected results: the ones next in line would then become the top killers. Before anything, there is no excuse for installing new wind turbines in the distribution range of these birds, let alone their breeding areas. Neither is it acceptable to re-power ageing installations with new turbines. The impact of wind farms must be reduced, not maintained or increased. At this juncture, it is important to keep in mind that raptors are attracted to wind turbines, which increases their chances of being killed. Egyptian Vulture: a bird that uses tools – courtesy of Manuel de la Riva 2) – Yet the regional authorities continued authorizing new wind turbines. In a recent article we read: “The Andalusian population of Egyptian vultures suffered a sustained decline in the last decades: half of its breeding pairs have been lost since the year 2000. They are now down to 23.” ARTICLE in Spanish: TRANSLATION: Death of four Egyptian vultures alerts to the danger of wind farms near the Strait This is a staggering decline. In the article, two local conservation groups lay the blame as follows: “the government of Andalusia has not taken any action to avoid the enormous loss of biodiversity caused by wind turbines.” They further criticize the “ineffectiveness of the corrective and compensatory measures of these wind farms, such as on-site monitoring to slow down the turbines when birds are flying in their vicinity, and expressed doubts about official mortality figures.” And they voice their dismay: “Andalusia continues to authorize new wind farms, and the repowering of old ones, within or near bird SPAs (Special Protection Areas), despite its explicit prohibition by European legislation.” Last but not least, they question the validity of “studies aimed at minimizing the impact of wind farms, or the existence of “intelligent” wind turbines which would avoid the collision of birds. Such works are indeed financed by wind and electricity companies, and entrusted to entities accused of conflict of interest, such as the Migres Foundation.” (see above for the link to the article). It’s all pretty clear: the Egyptian Vulture will soon go extinct in Andalusia because of wind farms. Note: Andalusia is a region-state of Spain that is as large as Portugal. 3) – Alas, Andalusia is not alone. The government of Extremadura has just authorized its first wind farm. It will be built less than 5 km from the nest of a breeding pair of Egyptian vultures, and within the range (about 15 km) of 30 more pairs of that endangered species, which nest in the nearby Monfragüe National Park. The project will also take its toll on other protected species: black vultures, griffon vultures, black storks and 5 species of eagles, all breeding in the national park or the surrounding biosphere reserve. In addition, the wind farm area is surrounded by roosts of red kites which migrate there every year from France, Germany and other EU countries. Five of these colonies, hosting between 500 and 800 red kites in total, lie between 4.5 and 11.5 km from the project area, which is part of their foraging grounds. ARTICLE: The Lesser Kestrel, a “priority species for funding under LIFE”, is also concerned: 44 – 55 pairs are breeding less than 5 km from the wind farm area, well within their range of 9 km. OBJECTION: Objection to the Merengue project by SEO-Birdlife, the Spanish Ornithological Society (go to DOE page 43445) There will be a massacre of these threatened species, some of them listed as “endangered” in Spain, and one worldwide (the Egyptian vulture). But as in Andalusia and many other regions of the world, decision makers don’t pay much attention to collateral damage from wind farms. They simply rubber stamp the doctored environmental impact studies provided by the promoters. 4) – Is the Egyptian vulture the only species threatened with regional extinction by wind farms? In the study quoted in section #1 above, we read: “These results, although obtained for a focal species, may be applicable to other endangered populations of long-lived avian scavengers inhabiting southern Europe.”  In Southern Europe, other threatened populations of long-lived avian scavengers are: Bearded vulture (full-time scavenger – listed as “endangered” in Spain) Black Vulture (full-time scavenger – listed as ”vulnerable” in Spain) Spanish Imperial Eagle (part-time scavenger – listed as “endangered” in Spain) Red Kite (part-time scavenger – listed as “endangered” in Spain) See: (last updated 08/08/2016) Spanish imperial eagle and fox As for the Egyptian Vulture, it is listed as “endangered” worldwide: IUCN red list, where we read: “Justification: This long-lived species qualifies as Endangered owing to a recent and extremely rapid population decline in India (presumably resulting from poisoning by the veterinary drug diclofenac) combined with severe long-term declines in Europe (>50% over the last three generations [42 years]) and West Africa, plus continuing declines through much of the rest of its African range.” In other words, its regional extinction in Andalusia will contribute to push the species towards extinction worldwide. 5) – Conclusion. The extinction of the Egyptian Vulture in Andalusia is not a speculation: it is ongoing. Already, the bird is extinct in one of its provinces: “the province of Malaga’s last breeding pair of rare Egyptian vultures have been found dead, making the species extinct in the province.” See: Egyptian vultures extinct At the last census, only 23 breeding pairs remained in Andalusia. Since then, at least four of these rare birds were killed by wind turbines – see ARTICLE in section (2) above. It is no exaggeration to say that the extinction of the species in the region is “in progress”. Mark Duchamp President, Save the Eagles International Related reading: Wind farms may cause extinction of Greater Prairie Chicken […]

  2. […] Source: Greater Prairie Chicken in peril […]

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