According to news reports, New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg wants to build a wind farm to meet 10 percent of New York City’s energy needs. In addition to the fact that the assumption that he could meet that goal may be more foolish than Don Quixote’s battle, the impact of Bloomberg’s quest could prove devastating for migratory birds. Windmills can basically make minced meat out of birds that migrate along the same coastal, windy routes that are suitable for wind farms.
Energy expert Robert Bradley Jr. notes that the country’s largest wind farm in Contra Costa California, called Altamont Pass, kills hundreds of birds every year. He notes: “On a percentage basis, the mortality rate per year at Altamont Pass under the estimate is eight times greater than the bald eagle kill from the Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound in 1989, and it recurs every year.” The Center for Biological Diversity explains that the wind farm is particularly problematic because is located in a migratory route. They estimate that the wind turbines kill about 880 to 1,300 birds of prey each year, which includes 116 golden eagles, 300 red-tailed hawks, 380 burrowing owls, we well as hundreds kestrels, falcons, vultures, and owls. While wind farms in other locations might not pose as large-scale problems, explanation of this energy source would surely have drawbacks for avian wildlife. Bradley, for example reports similar problems with avian mortality in Europe.