Victoria survey reveals wind turbines pose little threat to birds

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"In comparison to the risks posed by power lines, cars, the average house cat -- and most importantly global warming -- the risks from wind farms to birds and bats are low," says Darren Gladman of Environment Victoria. Commenting on the results of two surveys conducted by the conservation organisation, he stresses no rare, threatened or endangered birds or bats have been killed by wind turbines in the state to date. A small number of common species have, however, been killed -- four birds and two bats at Codrington wind farm, in south-west Victoria, between 2000 and 2003, and six bats at Toora in south Gippsland, between 2002 and 2003. The survey of Codrington, which has 14 turbines, concludes that between 18 and 38 birds are likely to be killed each year. The Toora survey found magpie and raven activity declined around the site's 12 turbines, but wedge-tailed eagle activity increased, with eagles adept at flying around the turbines. Calling on the state government to make such surveys a mandatory part of all future wind development, Gladman adds: "It is vital that surveys ensure that rare, threatened or endangered bird populations are not put at risk, as well as large populations of common species."

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