American Elephants


What Kills the Most Birds? Oil Spills or Green Ideology? by The Elephant's Child
June 19, 2015, 6:28 am
Filed under: Energy, Environment, Global Warming | Tags: , , ,

oil-soaked

Whenever there is an oil spill on the water, American media are filled with photos and videos of oil soaked birds. The coverage prompts the self-appointed environmental defenders of wildlife to erupt in righteous fury, wringing their hands and blaming the greedy oil companies and blaming careless people of the West for demanding more and more energy so they can fuel their enormous RVs and yachts in crimes against nature.

Fossil fuels are evil, and the alternative is “clean” renewable energy sources like wind and solar energy. Wind and solar energy are natural and sustainable. And solar energy produces less than 1% of our electricity needs, requires 24 hour 7days a week backup from a conventional power plant. If the subsidies vanished, so would solar energy. But the birds, those beautiful birds, dying from filthy fossil fuels!

In the most recent U.S. oil spill off the coast of California, 161 birds died, as of the latest count. Truly sad.

Estimates for bird deaths by wind turbine run from 100,000 a year (The National Research Council), to 300,000 (American Bird Conservancy). Bloomberg News put the toll at 573,000 birds in 2012. That’s for wind turbines. The estimate for  birds roasted by the Ivanpah solar-thermal plant in the Mojave Desert are — one every two minutes — or roughly 28,000 birds killed in a year. Ivanpah focuses the heat from 170,000 mirrors on three 450-foot tall towers generating heat up to 800°. The songbird numbers are hard to estimate for they simply go up in a puff of smoke. The government chooses to look the other way, and ignore laws about raptor deaths because global warming. They gave their lives in a noble cause — renewable energy.

To be fair, the 2010 BP oil spill did substantial damage to wildlife in the region. The Fish and Wildlife Service reported 2,202 “visibly oiled” dead birds were collected within the Deepwater Horizon/ BP incident impact area. Big oil spills, however, are fairly rare, and birds chopped by turbines or roasted by solar mirrors are continuous.

The article in Investors claimed the biggest cause of bird deaths was cats. They said “one study claims that cats are responsible for killing about 2.4 billion birds a year.” I’m suspicious of that statistic. I’ve always had cats (and dogs, bunnies and horses) and I can’t remember but one time I found a bird carcase around the house. One cat was death on garden snakes, and had a bad habit of bringing them into the house and turning them loose. She loosed one on the stairs and I nearly broke a leg when I almost stepped on it.


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