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Wind turbine.

Elizabeth Dalziel, Associated Press

Letter of the Day (Sept. 20): Wind farms and birds

  • September 19, 2013 - 7:18 PM

Developers withdraw plans for wind farm” (Sept. 18) portrays an outcome typical of so many environmental fights: They lack good science and quiet reflection.

New Era Wind Farm gave up trying to install a 48-turbine wind farm near Zumbrota, Minn. Earth loses. The activists think they won. Actually, everyone loses if we keep burning coal and other carbon fuels.

Local activists killed the project by portraying wind towers as unfriendly to birds. A recent study showed that 67 golden eagles were killed over a five-year period from all wind turbines in the United States. Wind farms are estimated to kill about 573,000 birds a year.

To put that in perspective, it is estimated that 1 billion birds die hitting glass windows every year. Hundreds of millions are killed by cats. Power-line towers kill 100 million to 200 million per year. Pesticides: 70 million per year. Lighted communication towers kill 40 million to 50 million birds per year. Automobiles kill 60 million to 80 million. Are we going to stop driving cars?

Red lights on towers are known to increase bird deaths. I just drove past 100 wind turbines in Iowa recently — all lit by red lights. Duh!

May I ask a question? How many deaths will climate disruption cause our avian friends as the Earth heats up, causing storms no bird can survive? Or, seasonal disruptions interfering with migration instincts?

Did birds really win this battle?

JIM DAVIDSON, St. Paul

© 2014 Star Tribune