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Bird kills below average

An incident of bat kills in eastern US comes on the heels of a kill of 32 songbirds at the facility on May 23, during spring migration. Paul Kerlinger, an avian researcher used by the wind industry, attributes the songbird kill to a light left on during a foggy period. Other researchers are not so certain.

An incident of bat kills at West Virginia's Mountaineer Wind Farm (main story) comes on the heels of a kill of 32 songbirds at the facility on May 23, during spring migration. Paul Kerlinger, an avian researcher used by the wind industry, attributes the songbird kill to a light left on during a foggy period. Other researchers, including US Fish and Wildlife Service scientists, are not certain this is the reason.

Speaking for the owner of the wind farm, FPL Energy, Steven Stengel says: "That was an extremely foggy night even by West Virginia standards. There were some lights left on at a substation that we believe caused the songbird event. Since that time we have turned the lights off at the substation and have not had any bird issues since that time, and there have been other foggy nights." Stengel points out that the average rate of bird kills at Mountaineer including the May incident, is 0.95 birds per turbine. According to the American Wind Energy Association, the average bird kill is about two birds per turbine a year, he adds. "We're significantly under the industry average." The Mountaineer Wind Farm has been operational since late 2002.

Kerlinger is also handling the monitoring of bat kills at the Mountaineer facility. He declines to discuss the bat kill incident.

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