Songs of braise

Let’s say you want some of that neat Alternative Energy, and the very next item on your list is killing as many birds as possible. So you put up a wind turbine, right? Not necessarily:

A new study from the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory [pdf] obtained by KCET gives some depressing and gruesome details of bird deaths occurring at industrial solar facilities.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife employees and energy company staff found 233 birds of 71 different species at three California solar facilities — Ivanpah, Genesis, and Desert Sunlight — during random surveys over two years. That’s not a huge number of birds (though the limited scope of the collections means it’s just a fraction of the actual deaths), but what’s shocking is the way some of these birds are dying: They are literally being burned alive, in midair.

And some of them are perishing in a different manner entirely:

Researchers found an unusually high number of water birds dead at the Desert Sunlight facility. These birds, including grebes, herons, ducks, and even pelicans, died not from the heat but from blunt force trauma. The cause was clear, as stated in the report: “A desert environment punctuated by a large expanse of reflective, blue panels may be reminiscent of a large body of water.” These birds — tired from flying over the hot desert — home in on what looks like a calm lake but instead crash into hard panels. They either die instantly or, as researchers found, lie helpless for land-based predators.

Of course, mean, nasty, wicked coal gets soot all over their feathers.

(Via Tim Blair.)


  1. canadienne »

    11 July 2014 · 7:55 pm

    Some types of oil production are not that good for birds either:

    I am not opposed to energy production of any type. I live in Canada, it gets cold pretty much everywhere here, even in Halifax, and we need energy. In a more rational society we’d be more careful of other species.

  2. CGHill »

    11 July 2014 · 8:13 pm

    Yeah, and more southerly birds get drenched in oil spills near the coast. Everything has a price tag other than the obvious one, but not everyone realizes that — especially in Washington. (I have to assume Ottawa has more sense, if only because they can’t possibly have less.)

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