Further devastating evidence of the toll that onshore wind turbines take on local eagle populations has emerged in Tasmania. The local Wedge-tailed eagle is thought to be down to just 1,000 individuals, but over the last 12 years at least 270 birds have been killed or injured in the vicinity of wind farms. According to a recent paper in Australian Field Ornithology, a further 49 vulnerable White-bellied sea eagles have also been killed in this period.
The scale of depredation is shocking but it could be much worse than reported. According to author Gregory Pullen, information about eagle deaths is not readily available, “nor readily made available”. His calculations arise from a number of primary sources including annual reports. He suggests that unrecorded casualties are higher since most are recorded anecdotally and are not the result of systematic survey. The Tasmanian sub-species of the Wedge-tailed eagle is listed as endangered under both federal and state threatened species legislation.
Large birds of prey such as eagles are at particular risk from giant wind turbine blades revolving at speed since they rely on air currents for sustained flight. The Daily Sceptic has covered this developing story, noting that few activists, bird conservation groups and writers seem able to rouse themselves to complain when the natural flight path of raptors stands in the way of green progress. The Australian climate journalist Jo Nova has stood out from the unquestioning crowd, noting that in Tasmania the greens are destroying nature – again. “It’s not about the environment is it,” she said. She went on to add that there are plans to build up to 10 wind turbine parks across Tasmania – “and if one tower misses, the next will get them”.