Windfarms: bird mortality cover-up in the UK. (MEDIA RELEASE) by Mark Duchamp

The British public is being misinformed regarding bird mortality at wind farms, denounce Save the Eagles International (STEI ) and the World Council for Nature (WCFN). It is contrary to fact to pretend that these industrial structures are “carefully sited” so as to avoid risks to birds and bats. It is equally false to allege that grouse and other ground-nesting birds don’t mind laying their eggs under wind turbines, or that raptors avoid these dangerous areas.

In a recent article, The Guardian states: “Studies in the UK had found evidence that birds of prey in particular avoided wind farms” (1). But if you look closely at the picture shown in the article, you’ll notice that the two birds flying between the turbines are raptors, red kites in fact, which were reintroduced in the UK at great cost. “So! – they avoid wind farms, eh?” – quips STEI’s President Mark Duchamp.

In Germany, where a few wind farms have been loosely monitored for bird and bat mortality, the government has disclosed the number of carcasses reported so far: 69 eagles, 186 kites, 192 buzzards, 13 harriers, 59 falcons, 12 hawks, 7 ospreys, plus hundreds more birds of all sizes and even more bats (2). “These figures are just a small sample of the ongoing massacre”, comments Duchamp, who cites this example:  “Ubbo Mammen, an ornithologist commissioned by the German government, estimates that 200-300 Red Kites are being killed yearly by wind turbines in Germany” (3). These machines are driving many rare species into extinction, warns Mark.

In the UK, few raptor deaths leaked through what STEI calls “the windfarm cover-up”: three red kites, one osprey, and one sea eagle. “Officially, the eagle died of a heart attack”, mocks Duchamp. “In the UK, wind farms are not being monitored for bird mortality: this is how the issue is being kept from the public’s eye. Scavengers and wind farm employees dispose of the dead bodies, so it is extremely rare for a dead eagle or osprey to be found by some nosy trespasser.”

Birds and bats are being slaughtered by the million in other countries. In Spain, the ornithological society SEO/Birdlife recently estimated that the 800 Spanish wind farms were killing between 6 and 18 million birds and bats a year (4). Unlike birds killed by cars and cats, these include eagles and many other rare species.

But in the UK, bird charities hold the wind industry in great esteem, on account of global warming but also for their financial contributions to bird research, notes STEI. Hence the new study by researchers from the RSPB and BTO, which was just hailed by The Guardian in these terms: “Windfarms do not cause long-term damage to bird populations, study finds” (1). But raptors have been excluded from the study, remarks Duchamp. “As for the few bird species that were considered, the research is anything but convincing; besides, other studies have shown opposite results”. Mark remembers that, years ago, an RSPB officer wrote the following about the Edinbane project: “they (red grouse) have been known to collide with turbine structures and have shown population declines associated with windfarm developments elsewhere” (5).

The BBC, referring to the same study, recently proclaimed: “Wind farms ‘not major bird mincers’ ” (6). STEI wonders how this conclusion may be drawn from such an inconclusive and suspicious study, whose scope is not mortality, and only targets the “density” of selected non-raptor species. As for earlier claims that wind farms in the UK are “carefully sited”, Mark notes that many have been placed in the worst possible locations, where they will mince Scottish eagles into extinction: Eishken (aka Eisgein or Eisgen), Pairc, Pentland Road, Edinbane, Ben Aketil, various eagle ranges in Argyll, etc. “Hypocrisy and deceit are rampant,” laments Duchamp.


Mark Duchamp      +34 693 643 736
President, Save the Eagles International
Chairman, World Council for Nature


 (1) –  The Guardian:


(2) – German statistics:
scroll down to the following links appearing in a box:
Vögel (birds) in Europa                                                   Fledermäuse (bats) in Europa
Vögel in Deutschland                                                      Fledermäuse in Deutschland


(3) – Germany: 200-300 Red Kites killed by wind turbines yearly.

See post scriptum here —>

(4) – SEO/Birdlife: 6 to 18 million dead birds and bats a year:


(5) – See section 5, GROUSE POPULATIONS:


(6) – BBC article:


Introduction of offence of vicarious liability for raptor persecution in England

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4 comments to Windfarms: bird mortality cover-up in the UK. (MEDIA RELEASE) by Mark Duchamp

  • Paul Tresto

    The RSPB is going round in circles – see their report published in Sept 2009: “Wind farms ‘displace’ rare birds”:

    Hen harrier are among species researchers believe affected

    Some of Scotland’s rarest birds are being displaced by wind turbine developments, a study has suggested.

    Hen harriers and golden plovers were among the birds found to be breeding in fewer numbers close to wind farm sites.

    RSPB Scotland, which part-funded the study, said the findings showed turbines should not be sited near vulnerable bird populations.

    The research, newly published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, looked at 12 upland wind energy sites in the UK.

    The distribution of birds across each wind farm was compared with that on similar nearby sites without turbines.

    Seven species – buzzard, hen harrier, golden plover, snipe, curlew, wheatear and meadow pipit – were found less frequently than would be expected close to the turbines.

    RSPB Scotland said breeding densities of these species were reduced by between 15% and 53%, within 500m of the turbines.

    Link via BBC:

    and from October 2011:

    SSE drops Waterhead Moor wind farm over ‘bird fears’ Much of Waterhead Moor was a protected site for hen harriers
    A major energy firm has withdrawn its planning application to develop a 29-turbine wind farm at Waterhead Moor near Largs, North Ayrshire.

    SSE – formerly Scottish and Southern Electric – said the decision had been made due to “a range of construction and planning challenges” over the site.

    Most of the wind farm fell within a Special Protection Area, designated due to its importance for hen harriers.

    SSE’s decision was welcomed by RSPB Scotland, which had opposed the scheme.

    Link via BBC:

  • Circus maximus

    So there is a chance that they wont be allowed to build a wind farm where Harriers(and eagles) are breeding. But there is not so much of an issue building them where they are currently absent.
    Hang on a minute- they are effectively ensuring that these suppressed species cant expand their range into areas of otherwise suitable habitat.

    Editor’s comment. That’s not the point, the way things are going (at least in England) there will be no hen harriers left for anyone to worry about.

  • Circus maximus

    But windfarms aint the cause…..if the persecution ever ends…what have the birds left to come back to….

  • zak

    Good afternoon
    a Planning application has been lodged with Argyll & Bute Council for a 5 turbine wind farm, each turbine is 92.5m high and the location is on the Rosneath peninsula, overlooking Loch Long and the Clyde Estuary.
    Hen harriers have been spotted nearby and are nesting on MOD land at Coulport.
    I am concerned at the proximity of these proposed turbines to the nesting sites.
    There are many species of bird on this peninsula and in the vicinity – eg curlew, kestrel, short eared owls and I believe 5 species of bats have been recorded within the area it is proposed to build the wind farm on.
    If you would like to lodge a comment on this proposed development the web address is -
    Thank You