Irish Sea Eagle Killed by Wind Turbine

[singlepic id=156 w=318 h=450 float=left]A WHITE-TAILED sea eagle introduced to the Killarney National Park from Norway just three years ago has been found dead below a wind turbine near Kilgarvan, an area designated as suitable for wind farms in the Kerry county development plan.

Dr Allan Mee, project manager for the reintroduction project, said “although such collisions are common in Europe and the US, it is the first time a sea eagle has died here, or in Britain, due to a wind turbine, The death is likely to cause a reappraisal of wind farm areas in the region.”

The eagle, which had severed a leg, was found below a wind turbine at Sillahertane on the Cork-Kerry border earlier last month. A post mortem determined the cause of death as the strike with a wind blade. She had begun roosting and was likely to be one of the first of the eagles reintroduced here to breed this year or next.

Areas suitable for wind farms were decided before the raptor reintroduction programme, which brought in red kites and large birds of prey such as eagles five years ago.

These areas are likely to be reviewed now in the light of their effect on the introduced birds, which have low reproduction rates. There will also be a series of recommendations for existing wind farms, Dr Mee indicated.

“Over the next few years it will be important to assess how much white-tailed eagles use the existing wind farms, and whether they avoid wind farms to any extent. We will also work with wind farm operators to help reduce the risks of further collisions where possible.” The effects of wind farms on protected birds is one of the single biggest obstacles to wind farm planning in Europe.

Poisoning, however, remains the chief cause of unnatural deaths of eagles in Ireland. So far some nine of the 77 birds introduced since 2007 have died from poisoned bait.

This is the last year of the reintroduction programme and a further 20 young eagles are due from Norway in early summer.

In Kerry for a fundraising dinner for the project on Thursday last, Norwegian ambassador Öyvind Nordsletten said he hoped recent laws strengthening the protection of birds of prey from poisoning would be enforced, as there was “a real chance” white-tailed sea eagles were going to start breeding here for the first time in more than 100 years.

The practice of using poisoned meat bait was banned in October 2010 in Ireland. Fines of up to €5,000 may now be imposed on conviction.

9 comments to Irish Sea Eagle Killed by Wind Turbine

  • For three consecutive winters 2005-2008, my colleague and I purposely monitored an 11 turbine wind farm in Co. Antrim, for bird strikes and we were appalled at the loss of life below these monstrosities, which were right in the heart of Hen Harrier territory and other related species. Over this period we found up to 10 Ravens, numerous Hooded Crows and even a male Hen Harrier and a Common Buzzard, which had perished in tragic circumstances.These incidents were reported to the local RSPB office and of course several consultancies who monitor sites for potential wind farms. To my surprise and disgust the RSPB granted planning permission for a further 9 turbines without looking into the circumstances why these birds were killed, particularly numerous Corvid species. The consultants of course washed their hands of the information, with one in particular in Scotland stating – that NO Hen Harriers had ever been killed at a UK wind farm site, to which I reminded the consultant, that N.Ireland is an integral part of the UK, but there was to much money to be made and TO HELL with the birds! Then a short time later I heard that if two or even three Hen Harriers are killed below wind farms that these numbers are acceptable as far as the consultants are concerned. No dead Hen Harriers are acceptable below any turbines due to their dwindling numbers here in N.Ireland, is my answer to that stupid statement!

    Of late two Sparrowhawks have been killed at a wind farm site in the Republic of Ireland as well – so where does all this end? At the above mentioned Antrim site poor weather conditions prevail almost all-year round in the area, with the turbines heavily enshrouded with hill fog and mist, even during the summer months and this was totally dismissed by the consultant for this site and also by the RSPB when planning permission was granted without investigating the weather conditions and the fatalities further. An absolute disgrace!! Therefore, I can relate fully to Tony Mee’s plight about his Sea Eagles, several of which have been poisoned and indiscriminately shot over the past 2-3 years and now they are being killed at wind farms! Let’s get these monstrosities removed for the good of the birds in particular as they are only eyesores and seem to be always sited in areas of outstanding natural beauty, where there is rare and important wildlife.

    The bodies who grant planning permission for their installation want to have a long hard look at themselves – they are a joke, but then as I have stated previously money is more important than conserving our local wildlfe, they come a poor second in most people’s eyes !!

  • AlanHarper

    I have nothing to gain from my comments as an outsider.?
    So, we have the naivety of thinking that the RSPB has a responsibility to raptors.
    ?If you think that the RSPB takes that seriously then consider the following.?
    In 2000, RSPB formed RSPB Energy with Scottish and Southern Energy. I, although not a subscriber, and several of my qualified colleagues have written to RSPB about this over the years because it has meant that RSPB has been UNABLE to stand up for raptors in many of the wind power station schemes of Wales, Cumbria, Scotland and the Scottish Isles. You cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hounds; the RSPB has allowed many schemes to be progressed without a murmur and has to carry much responsibility for the deliberate avian culling caused by wind turbines. If the RSPB had been so driven for the avian life of the British Isles, why has it not surveyed the grounds under wind turbines rather than allowing natural predators to remove the evidence? Where are these surveys archived?
    ?I know several friends who have stopped subscriptions to RSPB. Would that explain why RSPB is now so keen to end its financial “renewables” money-raising scheme with Scottish and Southern Energy?
    ?Loss of income is a great mover but can we ever trust RSPB again or National England with all its spin?

  • Alan Harper correctly states that he and others can never TRUST the RSPB again – I would not TRUST them with my dog, never mind Hen Harriers and other raptor species !

  • Circus maximus

    A collision risk study is nearly always part of a wind-farm appraisal. They always predict that they will kill birds, including specially protected species. The strange thing is that wind farm opperators are then never prosecuted when it happens.

    Certainly in Scotland there is no legal exemption for deliberately killing specially protected species while undertaking an otherwise legal activity (prior to 2004 there was an exemption).

    If you know that your wind turbine will kill a bird, then it can not be considered an accidental death. The operator made the choice to risk the chance that the offence might occur.

    As guilty as someone who points a gun.

  • Alex

    Despite your agitation and desire to blame the RSPB for everything, even you must know that your claim that “the RSPB granted planning permission for a further 9 turbines” is a nonsense. The RSPB have no such powers.

  • Just a little point that I became aware of which may not be relevant but I noted that a map of suspected poisoning fitted very snugly over a map of proposed wind farms. No names mentioned but a certain drop in raptors is a very convenient circumstance for developers and land owners.

    We have come across the situation of heavy levels of shooting to coincide with the weekend before the bird survey consultants arrive. I am not suggesting that this is a killing spree, in fact when Police were called it was blamed on a Clay pigeon shoot but sounded more like Al Capone was in town, but simply a method of displacement prior to survey.

    Certainly a Moray estate has been suspected of poisonings prior to an application and another local application states no Golden Eagles whilst the bordering estate, owned by a much more enlightened lady, contests the developers environmental survey.

  • Alex wrote:

    Despite your agitation and desire to blame the RSPB for everything, even you must know that your claim that “the RSPB granted planning permission for a further 9 turbines” is a nonsense. The RSPB have no such powers.”

    Wrong! The RSPB have the power when they apply themselves to it, as they did in the case of Lewis Wind on Barvas Moor. But the sad truth is that they support wind farms more than they support bird life.

    Their management is to blame, and it should be fired.

  • The fact is the RSPB and their equivalent organization in the Republic took absolutely no interest in wind turbine bird deaths and have supported wind farm construction in the face of evidence that they caused bird deaths. Like most such organizations they exist to feather their own nests and have abandoned any bird protection activities long ago. Children’s charities have been handing money to their friends in Dublin rather than giving it to the cause the contributors intended. They should get nothing.

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