Dead birds: oil bad, wind good?

During my Sunday morning internet review to see what’s happening I was prompted by my reading to ask myself why does the general public get very over-excited about dying birds slathered in oil but for the most part (other than some groups who are aware of it) why do we not have similar mass excitement about the massive amount of our feathered friends who are killed by wind turbines?

According to this article from Time Magazine published on July 29, 2010, the official tally of dead birds from the Gulf oil spill is about 3,000.

So far, the teams have collected nearly 3,000 dead birds, but fewer than half of them were visibly oiled; some may have died from eating oil-contaminated food, but others may have simply died naturally at a time when the Gulf happened to be crawling with carcass seekers.

Yes, 3,000 is about it, more wouldn’t surprise me, but I doubt we’re talking 100’s of thousands. Is this a  significant number? Yes. But what about the big man-made cause of bird deaths, wind turbines?

Obviously, I’m not the only one raising this question. According to a Politifact article found here, even the low-end counts are significantly higher. Here’s their math.

“With the increased capacity over the last seven years, we now estimate that 100,000 – 300,000 birds are killed by wind turbines each year,” said Conservancy spokesman Robert Johns.

By our math, that comes to 274 to 822 birds a day killed by wind farms across the country.

Per their math the best case is that it will only take about 11 days to equal the amount of birds killed in the Gulf oil spill to a worst case of 3.64 days. To put it another way, annually, that is about 33 times the amount of birds killed on the low-end, to about 100 times more on the high-end.

Yet, I see little to no excitement about the astounding number of birds killed by wind turbines each year. But there’s a whole lot of hollering, yelling, bitching and moaning about the significantly smaller amount of  birds killed by the Gulf oil spill.

It’s an amazing premise, but one that seems to hold true. People just don’t get all worked up about birds killed by wind farms, or at least most don’t. You certainly do not hear the outcry that’s been heard about the birds in the Gulf spill.

This gets me wondering about the reason we don’t seem to care.  Is it because we love the “green” wind farms so much that we’re willing to accept the bird kill for them, but we hate oil so much that we’re going to make a mountain out of a molehill when we get a large oil spill? Does common sense not prevail anymore? Is it that rare a commodity in today’s society?

Or, is it because the mainstream news media hasn’t flogged this issue to death and it’s the old out of sight out of mind thing? We’ve had a little over 100 days of CNN, MSNBC, FOX, ABC, CBS, NBC and all the thousands of local TV and radio stations with their own news broadcasts flogging this spill like the proverbial dead horse. Day after day and hour after hour we’ve been bombarded with news about this spill.  We’ve been bombarded over and over with video of birds covered in oil that were dying or dead. It’s like the 24 x 7 news media equivalent of carpet bombing

Seeing the dying birds is no doubt an ugly sight. I hate looking at it, and regardless the number of dead birds, it doesn’t change my mind that it’s something we need to try to prevent from happening again. I’m certain millions of people will agree with that. But, why does no one seem to give a “hoot” about the wind farms except a few organizations and the birds themselves? Is this accepted “collateral damage?”

My personal take on this that it’s apathy and selfishness.  In general people don’t get worked up about what they can’t see and/or about things if it doesn’t affect them personally. It’s like people are saying, “Dead birds? Not my problem because as long as I get my ‘green’ power I’m all for it.” Or, “dead birds? Who cares? I only worry about myself, screw everybody and everything else.”

It’s like no news media ballyhooed about this, so no one will get worked up about it. Does the general public need cheerleaders in the form of the 24 x 7 mainstream news media to get worked up about something? Seems the mantra is something like “if it’s not on CNN I’m clueless.”

Or, is it propaganda? It seems that generally, when I hear anything about wind farms it’s a news item about how “green” it is and how it’s going save us from Al Gore’s profitable version of hell known as global warming. Are millions of Americans being led down the primrose path while forgetting there’s a collateral cost to wind power?

Want more examples of the silliness? Below are links to articles in British news and other sites that are moaning and groaning about bird deaths from last winter’s non-global warming caused cold, and links to other articles about how they want to increase wind power in the UK. Very oxymoron like.

Those are the same “green” people who love that good old “green” wind power that may be around for decades, killing birds. Yet, they will rail about a 100 day or so oil spill that by comparison, kills very few birds and is basically about over and won’t be killing more birds for long.

This is proof that, for whatever the reason or reasons, people are clueless and they obviously don’t live in reality. They’ll go out of their way to save birds covered in oil, freezing birds and starving birds, yet they could care less about the massive amount of wind turbine kills we currently have and will increase as more wind farms are added.

Amazing evidence that there is indeed  CO2 Insanity. Have a desire for more information?

At the bottom of my post is a video produced by KQED about the bird kills at the wind farm at Altamont Pass, California. As you can see they seem to be having a problem reconciling their “green” need to protect birds with their “green” desire for wind power. Another “Catch 22.”

While there are partial solutions like eliminating certain turbines, changing the type and height, shutting down 50% of the turbines during the winter when there are more birds and even a proposed total shutdown during the winter , the bottom line is it’s still going to kill a lot of birds.

The other bottom line is that if they shut the whole thing down during the winter, then where’s the power going to come from? Coal? Nuclear? Solar? Natural gas? Something is either going to have to take the slack up or we’re going to suffer power shortages, which is conveniently ignored in the video.

The other problem is costs.  There’s no mention of what all this mitigation for birds is costing the taxpayers or the people purchasing electricity for homes, businesses and the new wave of plug-in electric vehicles.

Wind power is also heavily subsidized (aka: your tax dollars are paying for it). Think not? Here is an article about how Los Angeles is rasing their rates to subsidize wind and solar power generation.

Want to know how much it really costs? From here we get the following.

Renewable energy apologists often assert that renewable energy subsidies are necessary to “level the playing field” regarding subsidies given to coal. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, however, solar power already receives more than $24 in subsidies per megawatt hour of electricity produced. Wind power receives more than $23 dollars per megawatt hour. Coal power, by comparison, receives less than 50 cents per megawatt hour.

Note that it doesn’t matter where the money comes from. regardless if it is subsidized by state or federal government, or via a rate hike  it’s ultimately your money coming out of your wallet.

So, next time you fire up that electric car, watch TV, turn on the lights, cook dinner or whatever you do that uses electricity think about all the 100’s of thousands of birds that are dying if you get any of your electricity from wind turbines.

Funny we here a constant din about “evil” big oil, but nada about this. No common sense there, financially or otherwise.

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