No impact on millions of birds

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Forty million birds are estimated to fly over Toronto during spring and fall migrations, but only two bird carcasses have been found in the vicinity of the Lagerwey 750 kW turbine installed on Toronto's waterfront. It "has had no significant impact on local and migrating bird populations," says a survey conducted during last year's migrations, which involved a total of 28 site searches.

Forty-four species were seen on the ground or in the bushes around the base of the turbine and 22 species were observed flying close to the turbine at blade height. "The level of mortality experienced at the wind turbine in 2003 is absolutely insignificant when compared with the thousands of birds killed annually in Toronto at tall buildings," say the report's authors.

While flocks of birds arrived daily to forage on the lawns and parking lots of Toronto's 192-acre Exhibition Place, where the Lagerwey is located, they "always took a flight path that clearly avoided coming close to the turbine," researchers find. Local birds, they say, seemed well aware of the wind turbine and "lived around it much as usual."

The results are good news to Toronto Hydro and the Toronto Renewable Energy Co-op, joint owners of the turbine, who faced vocal opposition during the project planning stages from local groups concerned about its impact on birds. "Having the turbine become such an unobtrusive part of the bird environment only further confirms that we installed the turbine for all of the right reasons," says Toronto Hydro's Joyce McLean.

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