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STUDY: Decline in Bird Population Linked to Calif.’s Green Energy Reliance

'Despite being the focus of massive conservation efforts, bird populations across North America have declined by nearly 3 billion individuals in less than 50 years... '

(Joshua Paladino, Headline USA) The California Energy Commission and the Bureau of Land Management funded a study that found a link between declining bird populations and increasing renewable energy projects.

“Our results highlight, for the first time, distinct patterns of population—and subpopulation—level vulnerability for a wide variety of bird species found dead at renewable energy facilities,” the researchers wrote in Royal Society Open Science.

In the study—titled “Vulnerability of avian populations to renewable energy production“—researchers examined “23 priority bird species killed at renewable facilities” and found that 11 “were either highly or moderately vulnerable” to increased death rates, according to the Gateway Pundit.

The researchers sought to project the long-term affects on bird populations, not just raw death totals, from wind farms.

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These 11 bird species saw at least a 20% decline in the population growth rates, or, in real terms, at least 1,000 to 5,000 additional deaths due to the proliferation of wind and solar farms, which destroy natural habitats and pose deadly obstacles to flight patterns.

Local and already vulnerable bird populations suffered most, but non-local birds died during migration, too.

The vulnerable bird species include: white-tailed kite, western yellow-billed cuckoo, western grebe, barn owl, golden eagle, horned lark, Wilson’s warbler, burrowing owl, western meadowlark, greater roadrunner, and American kestrel.

The study shows a trend that emerged anecdotally in an April criminal case, in which ESI Energy, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, pled guilty to killing 150 bald eagles in eight states with its wind farms.

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The deaths violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The company agreed to pay $8 million in restitution—$53,333 for each bald eagle’s death.

The study concluded by noting that wind farms are exacerbating a decline in bird populations.

“Despite being the focus of massive conservation efforts, bird populations across North America have declined by nearly 3 billion individuals in less than 50 years,” the researchers wrote.

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