Turbine Strike on White-tailed Eagle

Eagle.jpg  Image by Jon Brain. When planning consent was granted for Edinbane and Ben Aketil wind farms environmental impact assessments recognised that a collision risk did exist for Golden Eagles.  However, no such risk existed for White-tailed Eagles, apparently based on the lack of observations, and despite predictions that the population was expanding.

Sea-Eagle-web-2

With an growing White-tailed Eagle population it was not surprising that a bird was found below Turbine 4 on Edinbane wind farm a few weeks ago, the victim of a turbine strike.  A post mortem has been carried out by the SAC in Inverness but there are no other mitigating factors.

It transpires that the bird had been ringed by Jon Brain as one of twins in North Uist, and is seen on the attached image.   It is not known whether it was breeding but was of an age to breed.  White-tailed Eagles are susceptible to turbine strikes, with well established evidence from Norway, and there are now several cases in Scotland. The perceived wisdom has always been that young inexperienced birds would be more susceptible to strikes, so the loss of an adult bird is a concern.

seagggel-web

In the absence of independent and systematic searches taking place below wind turbines in Scotland,  strikes are likely to be much more common than we realise.  An Osprey was killed at a windfarm at Moy recently.  Though Scottish Natural Heritage monitor the number of strikes, it is unlikely to be accurate and reporting incidents is made on a voluntary basis.

It is to the credit of wind farm staff at Edinbane who drew attention to the matter, but that may not happen at every location.  It is unlikely to be the first strike locally, and sadly, it is unlikely to be the last with other wind farms approved and proposed.

This article has been republished with the approval of the author Bob McMillan editor of  http://www.skye-birds.com/blog

5 comments to Turbine Strike on White-tailed Eagle

  • One of the problems on mainland Britain is that foxes will hunt around the turbines and especially when with cubs move any bird remains for the cubs to feed on.

  • MAGNENAT

    shocking !

  • Derek Arnot

    That’s what uou get with an SNP Govt. obsessed by onshore wind! Wasters!!

  • alan

    It should be a condition of planning that all wind turbine farms have 24hr open access web cams so that official bird strike numbers can be established.
    It always amazes me that the public just accept turbine strikes.
    Has there ever been a study done to compare claimed strike rates submitted for approval and actual strike rates?

  • Circus maxima

    If a developer predicts that they are going to kill the birds before the turbines are built, and then kill one..its a premeditated offence. (Unless they have a licence to kill the birds…which they wont have because the law makes no provision!)
    Planning law or wildlife law no longer allows “killing as a side-effect of a lawful activity”.