ABC creates Bird Risk map
by Nate Swick
The rapid increase in large scale wind-development, and the associated concerns about bird strikes and habitat degredation, has been a hot issue among bird conservation organizations for some time now. The American Bird Conservancy has continued to do great work bringing attention to these concerns and providing resources for birders interested in getting involved in the often local decisions that determine where these industrial scale facilities are sited.
One of the most recent, and impressive, of these publicly available resources is a series of maps showing in bold colors the sites least amenable to large scale wind development due to potential interactions with birds. These maps are available for all states, and a few parts of adjoining provinces, as a downloadable add-on to Google Earth.
Areas of high importance for birds, namely IBAs, designated critical habitat for listed endangered species, and seasonal "bottleneck" areas for migratory birds, are designated as orange or red.
"This map offers a way to prevent millions of bird deaths from wind power, while at the same time providing ample opportunity for the prudent development of this potentially bird-smart energy source. Careful siting of wind energy remains the single most important factor in reducing bird deaths from wind power, and this map provides a means to do just that," said Mike Parr, Vice President of ABC. "ABC strongly supports bird-smart wind energy development" he added.
It's vitally important for local birders and bird organizations to make their voices heard on these issues. Most all of us would agree that an greater emphasis on renewable energies such as wind is a genrally positive development, but that we shouldn't have to sacrifice the needs of birds and birders to achieve these goals.
So go get informed, folks.