Barn owl confirmed killed by wind turbine- they said such a thing could not happen.

At the beginning of 2013 a Barn Owl which had been rung in the Eden Valley in East Cumbria was reported as being killed near Kirkbride in North Cumbria by a  wind turbine.

[airesizeimg src=”” alt=”barn owl” class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-10841″ ] 

Now it seems barn owls are just as much at risk from turbines as all other raptors.

This was the first record of a Barn Owl being killed by a small wind turbine anywhere in the UK. The ringing information is presently being processed by the BTO and it is assumed that the record will be documented in the ‘Birds of Cumbria’ annual report for this year, but will not be published until 2014/15.

Many Environmental Assessments written for wind farms suggest that Barn Owls would not be affected by wind farms in this country even though there are records from Canada of Barn Owls being killed by turbines.

Significantly therefore this new record would appear to prove the so called experts wrong, undermining the conclusions of the Environmental Assessments which had claimed the barn owl was at no risk from wind turbines in this country. This record is now undeniable proof that the barn owl is at just as much a rink of being killed by a turbine as all the other birds of prey in the UK.

29 comments to Barn owl confirmed killed by wind turbine- they said such a thing could not happen.

  • Tobi Kellner

    While this is obviously unfortunate, it’s important to keep this in perspective: Cars and road transport are a much bigger killer of barn owls, see

    • Blythe

      Toby you are wrong I am afraid, this is not the first known of, there are as I reported below two others from a search done last year, and I Recently saw the carcass for a fourth that could not clearly be indentified as having been killed by a turbine blade, although the carcass was found at a windfarm site. We do not know how many more are being killed, obviously carcasses are removed by foxes, badgers, and other raptors, and are probably not reported if found by humans in whose interest it is not to report. Yes Barn Owls suffer deaths from other means, but to add to the mix is unacceptable, plus it is not just Barn owls that are suffering so, if you look at the statistics from the very eminent Zoologist the numbers are stunningly atrocious for the numbers of birds killed overall globally…not to mention bats.

  • thespecialone

    That may be so Tobi but wind cars and road transport are actually useful and efficient. Windmills are very costly, are only built because of taxpayers’ money and are completely inefficient. You are missing the point of this article. “Many Environment Assessments written for wind farms suggest the Barn Owls would not be affected by wind farms in this country even though there are records from Canada of Barn Owls being killed by turbines”. So yet another whopping lie from the wind industry shysters.

  • Lesley

    So a blatant lie is dismissed as unfortunate? And if road transport kills them too, that makes it all right?

  • Arthur Boyt

    There are thousands of turbines in the UK, how many have anyone specifically engaged to check for bird strikes? They cannot be employed by the power company or the landowner, both of whom have good reasons to keep quiet about them. Part of the approval procedure needs to be the agreement that a professional independent person is engaged to do the job.

  • The double standards applied to the wind industry are breathtaking.

    For example, we are used to the RSPB, rightly, callin for the full weight of the law to to be brought down on gamekeepers and others who kill rare raptors. But we repeatedly see the RSPB making lame excuses for wind farms which do exactly the same.

    Just recently a newly opened wind farm in Scotland killed 2 hen harriers within 3 weeks.

    You might think that the RSPB would have required rigorous surveys which would have spotted the likelihood of these red list birds being disturbed or killed. You might also think that the RSPB would be demanding the immediate shutdown of the scheme and the prosecution of the operators.

    No. RSPB state: “In relation to the events at the Griffin wind farm at Aberfeldy, our priority now is to keep working with SSE in monitoring and researching the site,…”

    Somewhat late in the day for one of the UK’s most threatened species, it might be thought!

  • This exposes an issue. If one barn owl has been identified as killed, how many more. At Fairburn one radio tagged red kite was identified as killed in the early days of operation but none since. However the population of red kites in the area has decreased markedly. Everyone has noticed. The question remains “Are they burying the birds?” I know in discussions with service personel a rather weak comment that foxes and badgers may take the carrion, but does that tale hide the real truth. As to some ES stating that experts will be employed to monitor, that is the biggest load of bovine excrement ever. Monitoring would need tio be on a daily basis and I know of no wind farms that have ever employed an on-site ecologist for post installation monitoring on a 24/7 contract.

  • Peter Moncrieff

    What Tobi Kellner does not reveal is that he is a paid promoter of the windmill industry. He works for the Centre for Alternative Technology (a ‘Charitable Trust’ …) in Wales promoting such things and ‘teaching’ school children about some of the claims for wind energy. He won’t be showing them any dead Barn owls or bats.
    Tobi pops up (troll-like ?) on sites where he can put one side of the unfolding story.
    Considering that Barn Owl nest disturbance carries the sanction of a prison sentence and/or unlimited fine (last time I looked at the Act) it is clear that killing the birds via an industrial generator should meet with some sort of legal action.

  • Arthur Biscuit

    Tobi Kellner is the propaganda officer for the Centre for alternative technology and is a paid advocate for the wind industry. Ignore everything he says as he’s taking money for saying it. Shows how desperate these people are that they will try to defend the indefensible.

  • Ivor Ward

    “”Road accidents account for a large number of deaths and injuries each year in Great Britain. Figures published by the Department for Transport show that in 2010, 2,502 children under the age of 16 were killed or seriously injured on the roads.””
    So by Tobi Kellner’s logic it won’t matter if we whack a few more kids on the back of the head and kill them because 2502 were already killed or injured?

  • Its compltely hypocritical for the RSPB to increasingly remonstrate about gamekeepers killing birds of prey illegally when its quite evident that wind farms approved by them are just as effective at killing them & equally adept at hiding the evidence. The wind power industry is also an equal to the gamekeeping organisations for their use of spin.

  • Paul Tresto

    The Centre for Alternative Technology website states the following: Tobi (Kellner) is currently the Energy Modeller for Zero Carbon Britain research project and our Renewable Energy Consultant here at CAT……

    He was previously the Information and Consultancy Officer here at CAT. Before coming to CAT he was also a Research Intern (Multilingual Systems Group) at Microsoft Research India (Bangalore), and a M.Sc. Student at Dept. of Computational Linguistics and Phonetics, Saarland University.

    Check out the link to Saarland University:

    How ironic that one of their graduates deems it okay to kill their iconic barn owls with wind turbines. Perhaps they should ask for his degree back??

  • otters

    The energy generated by these small wind turbines is miniscule compared to the cost to install and maintain. Using DECC published figures. A 50kw turbine with annual load factor of 10% or 5kw operating continuously over a year is equal to just two 2.5kw kettles in energy production. Planning departments all over the country are being swamped with applications for small turbines on farmland. Farmland, barns and old outbuilding are the last refuge for barn owls, but these small turbines also kill raptors and bats in large numbers. The small amount of energy produced is not worth the environmental impact on our most iconic wildlife.

  • Paul Tresto

    How will barn owls (and other bird species) survive Aberdeenshire? This map shows an example of the horrendous rush for wind (read cash) in Scotland:

  • John Curtis

    This is yet anther example of the RSPB and wind industry hypocrisy. RSPB is in the pocket of wind and this is why I cancelled by membership log ago. They are supposed to be Protectors of Birds, not Persecutors of Birds. Wind factories serve no useful purpose and are causing endless numbers of households to be forced into fuel poverty, to the benefit of a greedy few.

  • Blythe

    If you do a search you will find this is the third Barn Owl killed by a wind turbine, reports of two others previously this is the third, there is a query on a fourth one, but there is some uncertainty on that particular one. I am sorry, we as humans do enough damage to each other, animals, our landscape, our wild life, enough is enough. no no no.

    Editor’s Comment. Thanks for this comment, you are correct since Raptor Politics posted the article we have heard that other barn owls have been killed by turbines.

  • If a small wind turbine can kill a barn owl, does siting 3 turbines near a bird-rich area by a lake on a migration route used by ospreys (among others) seem like a good idea? The 3 turbines proposed for Killington are at the head of the lake at the entry to the Lune Gorge and together sweep 6 acres of sky. At operational speed a turbine blade will pass through each part of that area every second. There is still time to object, and this can be done through

  • fellsmike

    Edmund Hoare makes a vital point. Even the RSPB are ‘thinking about it’ which says something. Of course the developer claims this is a ‘good site’ for a wind farm – for all the wrong reasons. Banks Renewables have to be stopped so please help us. Go to the link in Edmund’s comment and click on the ‘How to Object’ tab which gives you a direct link to the SLDC web site.

  • Peter Moncrieff

    Edmund mentions osprey migration routes. The Dyfi ospreys will have to evade multiple windmills planned across Mid-Wales if they are to reach Africa. The madness that is TAN8 (rushed through the Sennedd in great haste in order to avoid imminent EU conservation legislation) could see 800+ windmills disfiguring the Welsh uplands.

  • PLEASE REPORT ALL BARN OWLS KILLED OR INJURED BY WIND TURBINES IN THE UK TO THE BARN OWL TRUST ( The Barn Owl Trust will shortly be updating it’s Wind Farm Position Statement. All evidence gratefully received. Thank you.

  • John Miles

    Blythe – please can I have details of where to find information on these deaths.

    Editor’s Comment, John read the previous comment from the Barn Owl Trust, they may be able to assist.

  • Sandra

    This is really sad. What a horrible way to go. These beautiful creatures are not expecting the huge revolving blades. I am no expert but I imagine Owls fly looking down a lot searching for prey.

  • Richard

    In response to Otters comments, a typical farm scale turbine, such as the Endurance will generate 220,000Kw of power annually, enough to power a large dairy, or pig/poultry farm.

    This would equate to an annual saving to that business in excess of £20,000 on their energy costs.

    With farming in this country under ever increasing pressure to produce cheap food, and margins being driven downwards, are there many businesses who can say they would not love to reduce their overheads by £20,000 annualy?

  • It shows how wrong we are to rely on the “experts” hired by wind farm developers.

  • Maggie

    I am very concerned that the RSPB are receiving far too much money from the wind industry. Iberdrola or Scottish Power renewables have given a great deal of money just for starters.
    In Mid Wales Iberdrola are proposing a huge wind farm at the Dyfnant forest, right next to Lake Vyrnwy where the Dyfi Ospreys are seen very regularly. Iberdrola have also admitted that the wind farm will have a catastrophic impact on the local Nightjars and Goshawks. There are numerous other important species locally but not a peep out of the RSPB who incidentally have a facility at Lake Vyrnwy.
    How’s that for double standards?

  • paul williams

    Twitchers flocking to see rare bird saw it killed by wind turbine – Telegraph
    Scores of twitchers flocked to the Outer Hebrides to see a bird that has been recorded just eight times previously in the UK in nearly 170 years – only to see it slain by a wind turbine.

  • There is an excellent way to monitor the number of birds and bats being killed by turbines, that will definitively prove, one way or another, if these machines kill as many or as few, as is claimed. Instead of 24 hr. surveillance checking for vandalism, the cameras could be set up for surveilling the blade path, so that all kills would be monitored, with no chance for predators, or unethical windweasels, to remove the bodies. It could be done from a home that is already too close to the turbines, thereby taking advantage of something that has been forced upon you, and using the unfortunate situation, to help to prove the destruction being done. Important bird areas are especially important to monitor!

  • Toby….isn’t my idea splendid? I am sure you will agree, it is a much better way to keep an accurate record???

  • paul williams

    Shellie, Yes, That is a fantastic way of monitoring birds and bats killed by wind farms. Sadly, this would reveal the truth and upset the rich landowners