Picking up the pieces

1

If you cast your mind back far enough, you might recall silent spring* and how it became a cornerstone of the ‘Green’ movement (all members hereinafter referred to as watermelons). Today, the wholesale slaughter of birds is graciously permitted because the cause has morphed into something far more sinister. With regard to wind-folly induced mortality the watermelons have oven-ready propaganda, most of it recently made to order by comrade watermelons with their watermelon noses in the same trough.

It’s OK apparently, wind-follies are exonerated in their topsy-turvy propaganda which explains that birds are rather accident prone anyway, buildings kill billions (doubtful) and cats kill billions (cats take the weak, old, infirm and fledgelings at times of bounty).

But what cats and buildings certainly don’t do is kill the rarest birds of prey. A cat is more likely to become an eagle’s dinner, rather than the reverse. Most birds of prey never venture into a city, a few choose tall structures for nesting, bridges and towers for example but in more suburban settings.

Our blackbirds, thrushes and sparrows, when not being ambushed by sprightly buildings or famished felines rarely fly more than twenty metres above the ground and do not face the same danger as migratory birds and birds of prey. cfact.org has a handy list of bird mortalities at

http://www.cfact.org/2013/03/18/wind-turbines-kill-up-to-39-million-birds-a-year/

There you can see the death toll wreaked against golden eagles, prairie falcons, red-tailed hawks and other rare species. The whooping crane population is highly endangered yet wind-follies along its migration corridor accounted for a third of that species last year alone (90+ mortalities). It won’t be long before the first extinctions happen and the watermelons will have their oven-ready propaganda prepared to brush away the ‘owls of protest. Yes, owls feature highly in the cfact list, as nocturnal predators they suffer more than their fair share of slicing and dicing. Their facial disc acts as a parabolic reflector directing sound to the ears and giving them an amplified version of minute rustling sounds on the ground but not the whooshing sound of the executioners axe as it falls from above. But that’s just a hoot to the whooping watermelons.

So can things get any worse for our feathered friends or avian amigos?

Well I’m afraid so. The more I read the worse the outlook. In Spain for example, 20% of its wind-follies have been constructed in protected areas, and 12% in protected areas set aside precisely for the well being of migratory birds. This type of eco-death-trap is what is accounting for the whooping crane. Offshore wind-follies by virtue are another eco-death-trap because all of Europe’s coastlines are de facto migratory routes.

Back to Spain where avian deaths are variously underestimated at between 7 and 15 million per annum and turbines are estimated to have a ‘max kill’ ratio of 1000 per turbine, I recall the episode of ‘ecologistas en accion’ who dabbled in the illegal trading of endangered bird species until investigating officers of the Guardia Civil explained the arrant illegality of the activity.

These Spanish agua melones, vested with duty of care and a dollop of dinero for the development of a captive breeding program, failed to breed a single bird in captivity and resorted to robbing nests in the wild. Guardia Civil uncovered the crime while investigating the trafficking of endangered species. Ecologistas en accion lamented the poor show of their operatives and claimed ‘underfunding’ in mitigation.

* Silent Spring (pesticides are killing our birds, eggshell thinning is responsible for the decline of the bald eagle etc.)

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