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Birders Needed to Speak Up On Great Lakes Wind Turbine Issue

Hundreds of thousands of migratory birds descend on the lakeshore of nortwest Ohio every spring, piling up on the south side of Lake Erie before making the jump over the big water. In recent years, thousands of birders have traveled there specifically to enjoy them, making springtime in Ohio – and specifically the Black Swamp Bird Observatory’s Biggest Week in American Birding – a must-visit event on the birding calender.

ABA member Steven Shaddix proudly showing the Scarlet Tanager he just photographed with his SLR rig. The Black Swamp region is a paradise for bird photographers...even those without fancy cameras, as the birds frequently allow stunningly close views.

ABA member Steven Shaddix proudly showing the Scarlet Tanager he just photographed with his SLR rig. The Black Swamp region is a paradise for bird photographers…even those without fancy cameras, as the birds frequently allow stunningly close views.

Unfortunately, the globally important bird habitat near Magee Marsh Wildlife Area in northwest Ohio is being threatened by poorly-sited wind energy development at the nearby Camp Perry Air National Guard facility and Lake Erie Business Park. Black Swamp Bird Observatory has a campaign to convince elected officials to stop these projects. They need the help of birders around the world to make this happen.

The most important thing birders can do is to write, call, or email elected officials and let them know that you less likely to visit the area if they are not proper stewards of this highly bird-sensitive area.

We urge you to call or write an email or letter to all of the following elected officials. In order to make it as easy as possible for you to do so, a sample letter can be found below.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur

One Maritime Plaza – Sixth Floor

Toledo, OH 43604

(800) 964-4699 – Tel: (419) 259-7500

Fax: (419) 255-9623

Email electronic form:

You can also post a comment on Kaptur’s facebook page:


Senator Rob Portman

37 West Broad Street, Room 300

Columbus, OH 43215

Phone: 614-469-6774

Toll-Free: 1-800-205-6446 (OHIO)

Email electronic form


Senator Sherrod Brown

200 North High St.

Room 614

Columbus, OH 43215

tel (614) 469-2083

fax (614) 469-2171

Toll Free 1-888-896-OHIO (6446)

Email electronic form.


Senator Randy Gardner

Senate Building

1 Capitol Square, 2nd Floor

Columbus, OH 43215

(614) 466-8060

Email electronic form/



As a birder who spends money in your District, I would like to voice my intense objection to the wind turbines being installed at Camp Perry and the Lake Erie Business Park. I am aware that these projects are moving forward in spite of the opposition to this site from state and federal wildlife agencies, Black Swamp Bird Observatory, Ohio Environmental Council, American Bird Conservancy, National Audubon Society, Ducks Unlimited, American Birding Association, and a whole host of other state and national organizations.

To erect large wind turbines in an area that plays such a critical role in the survival of migratory birds shows a blatant disregard for one of the region’s most precious assets. These actions also show great disrespect to birders who bring millions of dollars to northwest Ohio because of the quality bird habitat in the region.

I request that you encourage Camp Perry and Lake Erie Business Park to halt these projects and work with the organizations and agencies above to find more suitable locations for these turbines.

If you allow this type of development to continue in these highly bird-sensitive areas over the objections of so many knowledgeable organizations and agencies, including organizations who are working tirelessly to promote birding and bring economic development to your district, I will be far less likely to visit your area and spend money.

Thank you for addressing my concerns.



The second thing people can do is to add their name to our petition. Here are the instructions.

Black Swamp Bird Observatory would like to invite birders from around the world to register objection to wind energy development in the highly bird-sensitive areas of Ottawa County, Ohio, specifically the wind turbine projects at the Camp Perry Air National Guard facility and the Lake Erie Business Park. These projects are near the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area and the Navarre Marsh, areas of habitat that are critically important to migratory birds.

Rather than an online petition, we opted for a special email address at BSBO where we offer a 100% guarantee that we will not sell your information to advertisers! Your information will ONLY be shared with elected officials.

Please follow these instructions to the letter to save the BSBO staff time and effort.

1) Send an email to: [email protected]

2) Put ‘RWE’ in the subject line

3) In the body of the email, include the following information in this exact format:


City, State, Zip

Email Address

4) OPTIONAL! – A brief comment (1 – 3 sentences) about why you object to wind turbines in these bird-sensitive areas.

The BSBO staff will create a spreadsheet with all of this information and include with our second official letter of opposition which we will send to elected officials. Birders can be the key factor in swaying the opinion of these elected officials!

Please do this by December 7!


Businesses and elected officials in northern Ohio know more than most the economic engine that is this incredible natural spectacle, one that birders will travel to see year in and year out. We truly have the ability to make a real difference here, both for birds and for the people who increasingly see the money that birders bring in. Let’s make a stand for properly sited and managed wind energy infrastructure that is good for birds and the birders who care about them.

Birders are a powerful economic force along the Erie Lakeshore in NW Ohio. Let's make our voices heard to stop poorly-sited wind turbines that threaten a place and a bird population that we as a community hold dear.

Birders are a powerful economic force along the Erie Lakeshore in NW Ohio. Let’s make our voices heard to stop poorly-sited wind turbines that threaten a place and a bird population that we as a community hold dear.

Thanks for all your help!

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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
Nate Swick

Latest posts by Nate Swick (see all)

  • Kim Smith

    Nate, thank you for this article helping to get nationwide attention to this urgent issue. I’ve sent my emails and will continue to ask others to speak up as well.

  • Joan Kurelic Campbell

    Thanks, Nate. I will send my emails tomorrow!

  • Jim Wiegand

    The proposed Lake Erie turbines will be offshore and they will be used as a seed crop for many more to come.

    I would like to point out what the European Wind Energy Association said about a year ago in this report, “Birds and offshore wind farms.” In their opening paragraph this statement was made………. “For offshore wind, there is little knowledge regarding certain aspects,such as collision mortality.”

    The first offshore wind farm was constructed 22 years ago in Denmark in 1991 and little is still known about offshore wind turbine collision mortality.

    While this may seem amazing to some it makes a little more sense whenone realizes that off shore wind turbine impacts can not be studied with conventional wind industry methodology. Those methods call for searching around turbines for carcasses and then making calculated estimates. This can not be done with offshore turbines because bodies drift away and remains quickly become fish food.

    The obvious thoughts to most reading this are that there are other ways to get this information……..Cameras of course. After all it would be relatively easy and inexpensive to do with 24 hour video surveillance on a few select turbines. So why has this not been done? It never will because this visual truth about the wind industry’s ongoing bird and bat genocide would be revealed. It has not been done offshore for the same reasons that it has not happened on land based wind turbines.

    It would be this self proclaimed “green” industry’s worst nightmare. The site of peregrine falcons, bald eagles or any other species for that matter being cut in half, would not sit well with the public and the mortality numbers reveled would be staggering. Another consideration is that video footage can not be manipulated or rigged like the land based mortality studies.

    As for wind turbine impacts everyone accepts the fact that turbine blades kill birds and bats. What the public does not grasp is that industry studies are rigged to not find carcasses. The wind industry only uses carcasses found in their “designated” search areas to estimate mortality. I happen to have evidence from hundreds of turbine carcassesthat shows about 90% of bird and bats smashed by turbine blades fall
    past the outer reaches of a turbines blade tips. In other words if a turbine blade is 50 meters then over 90% of the carcasses will be found beyond 50 meters from towers. The industry ignores the the majority of carcasses that fall beyond the blade tips and they pretend they do not even exist. I happen to know better.

    The industry has many other tricks that are used to hide or not report mortality. Some studies I have looked have likely concealed tens of thousand of fatalities. I recently looked over a 7 month study that I believe concealed over 25,000 bat fatalities and over 5000 bird fatalities. Thiswas just 28 2.5 MW turbines and searches for carcasses.Their tiny search areas around the huge turbines amounted to about 68% of a 50 distance from towers. These turbines had blades 50 meters in length.

    In the report it was claimed that searchers systematically searched along predetermined in transects. As least that is what they claimed in the study. I was told
    something completely different by an eyewitness……. “Their search patterns were not any pattern and did not cover the entire area.They just wandered around and got in the truck and drove to the next turbine…”

    These turbines are also located in the known habitat of the endangered Indiana bat. How many of the unreported 25,000 bats were of this species? We will never know and this is by design.

    So when any paid wind industry expert or spokesmen makes a claim that “significant” impacts are “highly unlikely” remember they are relying on data taken from unscientific wind industry studies designed to not find carcasses or report data that might damage the approval process.

    In the case for an offshore wind farm on Lake Erie, instead of any letting “paid” experts pass false judgment when so little is actually known, the public should be demanding reliable data because there is none. This sitituation is no different than what took place with the Duke Energy projects, false expectations were given. The construction
    of six 3MW Siemens wind turbines in Lake Erie should not even be considered until reliable information is obtained and the full impacts disclosed to the public.

    • Cindi Martineau

      Thank you so much for chiming in with so much information about wind turbines!

      • Jim Wiegand

        You are welcome. I believe an educated public can defeat this cooked industry. This has been my primary goal, to expose them for what they are. It is time to put a stop to their ways otherwise we will have species forever leaving us.

        Besides the slaughter of millions of birds each year one of the other biggest lies is how little energy these turbines produce. Even if there were several million installed turbines in this country would still not run. Right now there are about 60,000 turbines and these madmen have their sights on installing millions. Just imagine this mess with all the infrastructure, the destruction, and the bird species that will be lost.

        Here is another sobering thought; it is all for nothing because wind turbine generated energy does not even cover the world’s annual increase in usage and the production from other energy sources. So despite the propaganda and hype of being the fastest growing energy segment, it is losing ground and will never catch up. It is not a solution and never will be. The reality is that this non-solution is a highly toxic product that is producing huge profits from taxpayers.

        • Before we get too deep into this, it’s really important to point out that in no way is the action taken here a statement against wind energy per se, only for better regulatory attention and better siting.

          Wind energy in a general sense is a critical move to get off the nation and the world’s reliance on fossil fuels. Fossil fuel extraction and use causes untold bird deaths through habitat loss and contribution to climate change.

          NO ONE here is advocating for ending subsidies to wind energy groups or for abandoning wind energy. NO ONE is saying wind energy is the only solution to replacing fossil fuels. We are advocating for better wind energy solutions that take into account effects on birds.

          I’ve also noted that Mr Wiegand is associated with several disturbing climate denialist groups, so I’m immediately skeptical about his claimed concern for those “species forever leaving us”. I would ask him to suggest what he thinks a better solution for moving the nation and the world away from fossil fuels would be, because the status quo is not a solution either.

          Wind energy doesn’t need to be abandoned, it needs to be fixed.

          • Jim Wiegand

            I have always stressed bird safe turbines but the industry
            likes to pretend there is no problem. The industry also believes that species extinction is a necessary trade off so their turbines world can save us. What a pile of manure. The
            trade off is species extinction for profits.

            False “kill the messanger” rumors from fools always
            follow me and you are no exception. You are wrong about “my association” with the climate denialist groups. I have one association with just one group, Save the Eagles International and it is about stopping these deadly turbines. Just because there are millions of people that have a deep disdain towards this industry does not mean they can not have different opinions about climate change or anything else.

            I know man-made climate change is real and I believe it
            can be stabilized. I also know these lousy turbines are just a corporate ride down the garden path.

          • I appreciate your clarification, Jim. I did see some of your writing associated with CFACT and other “skeptic” organizations which gave me pause.

            I agree that Big Wind suffers from much of the same influence and arrogance as Big Oil and Big Coal. But that doesn’t mean the entire idea of wind energy should be scrapped as some of your comments strongly suggest. There is a better way to do it and that needs to be explored and promoted.

            For the record, this “fool” manages this blog. So watch the ad hominims if you want to keep commenting here.

          • Jim Wiegand

            Sorry Nate, It has been was omitted. I believe more about the false rumors will be in a nationally published article coming out soon. I was recently interviewed and topic came up.

          • Cindi Martineau

            Ah! Thanks for this clarification!

          • Cindi Martineau

            Ah! Thank you for the clarification here.

  • Jim Wiegand

    I was looking over wind industry information about potential mortality impacts for wind turbines installed on Lake Erie. I noticed that the Wind developers paid for radar and
    observational studies on birds and bats. The studies just happen to miss most of the usage by the 100,000’s of birds that use this area because of seasonal timing and the exclusion of very important data. The radar studies are meaningless and should be done over with new methodology not designed to exclude important data.

  • Katie Sumner

    Thanks for this! I’ve sent my email and will share the link.

  • Jim Wiegand

    Everybody watching the news today probably knows about the 30 year eagle killing permits the Interior Department just approved for the wind industry.

    We all have to face the fact that the political game is rigged, as rigged as any wind industry mortality study. Therefore the obvious choice from this day forward is for the public to stop every wind project in eagle habitat. No wind farms means on permits will need to be handed out and no eagles will be killed.

    The proposed Lake Erie Turbines will be in Bald Eagle habitat and they will kill eagles.

    • While the permissions to “take” Bald Eagles are concerning, that is not the reason why the ABA is opposing this particular wind farm.

      • Jim Wiegand

        My point was that it should probably be included in you objections.

  • Hi all . . . I write, a blog devoted to debunking anti-wind disinformation.

    I’m very pleased to see the strong support for wind energy in general, and concern about this siting in specific. I’m a strong advocate of appropriate siting for wind energy so that it doesn’t impact endangered species.

    In fact, a large part of the reason I’m engaged around the world in wind advocacy is due to a discussion I had with Margaret Atwood, the Canadian author, and others on Ms. Atwood’s blog a few years ago about proposed wind farm offshore near Point Pelee on the Canadian side of the migration route (she and her husband are avid birders). After dismissing about 95% of the arguments against the wind farm, I agreed that it was inappropriate based on potential impact to endangered bird species. Similarly, I agreed that the Ostrander Point wind farm siting was inappropriate due to the potential impact to the endangered Blanding’s Turtle this year.

    What appears to be missing from this call for action and the discussion is specificity about which endangered avian species will be impacted by this proposed wind farm. As various people have stated, wind energy is a strong net positive for bird species due to it’s aid in reducing global warming and fossil fuel related pollution and habitat loss. While regrettable, a relatively small number of un-endangered birds being killed by wind turbines is not a reason to stop them.

    So what endangered species are put at risk in this specific location?

    Here’s some material I maintain on wind energy and avian mortality on my blog.

    I notice that Mr. Wiegand has turned up here, as he often does. I don’t claim to be anything other than what I am — a guy who is worried about global warming, likes wind energy and can read and assess the evidence — but Mr. Wiegand both overstates his credentials substantially and understates his affiliations. He’s an antiques dealer from California who hates wind energy and loves raptors. He’s also Vice President of an anti-wind organization, STEI, which is chaired by a European guy who runs at least two other anti-wind organizations. Mr. Wiegand states regularly that there is a conspiracy with the USFWS and major birding organizations. He makes extraordinary claims about avian mortality that no peer reviewed assessment by anyone supports. He claims wind turbines are making whooping cranes extinct without any evidence that wind turbines have killed a single whooping crane.

    Here’s a bunch of documentation on Mr. Weigand’s extraordinary and irrational claims that hopefully will help you assign him the credibility he deserves.

    Please note Mr. Wiegand is likely going to say I work for IBM doing Smart Grid stuff and so am not a credible source in return. I’ve worked on a couple of smart metering proposals for about five weeks of the past decade. I’m not in the wind energy or energy business. IBM makes a small fraction of its annual revenue from Smart Grid projects. Here’s my background. Once again, I’m not pretending to be anything other than what I am.

    • Hi Mike, thanks for confirming my gut instinct about Mr. Wiegand.

      As for the siting of this particular farm. The northwest corner of Ohio is essentially a funnel for songbirds traveling north every year. While there are no endangered species threatened by this installation, species of concern like Cerulean Warbler and Kirtland’s Warbler come through here in not insignificant numbers.

      The bigger concern is the effect on the very large numbers of ostensibly common migratory songbirds who, migrating in poor weather or at night, have the potential to be disproportionately affected by these turbines. We know that massive numbers of birds are taking off and landing in the area where the turbines are currently being constructed.

      While none are currently listed, songbird populations have plummeted on the whole over the last 30 years due to various threats. The last thing they need are large spinning blades at a major stop-over spot.

      Again, I’d clarify that no one in the ABA is against wind energy, and in fact we’re supportive of well-regulated, well-sited wind farms. But there really couldn’t be a much worse spot for them in the state than right here.

      • Given the lack of endangered species, I’m less inclined to think that there is a significant reason to be concerned about wind farm placement in general here. That said, are there specific turbine placements that put birds more at risk than others in the plans that could be focused on? Are there specific areas that should be off limits?

        And if the concern is night time migration during specific periods of the year, would curtailment of turbines during those periods be an acceptable mitigation?

        One pattern that works is radar-triggered curtailment. When a large flock of birds approaches the wind farm it shuts down until they pass. This has been put in place in a few places.

        I trust that you are open to discussions of specific mitigations and assessment of whether they are adequate or not? Given the overall value of wind energy to avian species populations and the efforts the wind industry in general has taken in regard to this, I would hope that you would entertain such discussions.

        • I was mistaken. Kirtland’s Warbler is a listed species. And Cerulean Warbler is one that should be listed but has not yet been due to coal industry opposition (they also nest in the Appalachians).

          I would think that radar-trigger and night-time curtailment would be certainly worth discussion, though it is unclear how long the turbines would be out of commission under those circumstances. The birds move through over a period of several weeks.

          The ABA is not on the front line of this issue, we’re only spreading the word. A better contact to discuss mitigation would be Kim Kaufman at Black Swamp Bird Observatory.

          • Hi Nate . . . that increases the likelihood that the wind farm is poorly sited. It definitely increases the negotiation leverage ABA and you guys have in terms of pushing it away from key areas. I’d have to see the plans and some additional information before I’d come down against the entire wind farm, but keep fighting the good fight.

            Wind farms are great, but not if they are directly endangering species.


      • E D

        I do hope you understand that Mike Barnards job is assuring that only giant, utility scale wind makes it to market. He has attacked all small wind innovations, from MIT’s to Googles, in a drive to make sure regular folks have no chance of generating their own power. He is spearheading the drive to make wind power as impossible for you, personally, to generate as any other energy on the market.

    • Jim Wiegand

      There is nothing irrational about pointing out how the wind industry rigs their mortality studies to hide their slaughter. Wolfe Island Search area were about 90 times too small, the Criterion Wind project about 23 times and we can look at almost every mortality study ever conducted and find similar problems. Plus I have the distance data from hundreds and hundreds of carcasses picked from up around turbines before the industry started shrinking their search areas. They show that most carcasses land well beyond the blades. In fact the average carcass distance is about 2 1/2 times the blade length. And soon you will be reading what an eyewitness has to say.

  • Jim Wiegand

    For the AWEA “a rational and effective approach to eagle permitting” is
    to be able to stick turbines anywhere they want, not be required to
    monitor and disclose all eagle mortality, and to never be held
    accountable for their actions.

    Here is a quote from the individual who reported the bald eagle killed by a turbine at the EDP site in north central Iowa. …….”The company’s employees hid the
    body of the bird (bald eagle) and tried to lie to the FWS law enforcement
    officials. This would normally add 1) interfering with a federal investigation and 2) tampering with evidence in a federal investigation and perhaps 3) intimidation of a federal witness to what should have already been a problematic “take”, but the FWS gave them a swerve as this was the first time a bald eagle death had been confirmed at the project site. I’m sure it is the last time anyone will report an eagle death
    at this project regardless of whether or not another death occurs”.

    All this illustrates how difficult it is to get the truth from this industry. It
    also illustrates the collusion, the hands off policy the Interior Department has with
    the wind industry and why they now have 30 year free pass to kill eagles.

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