|wind turbines outside of Moraine View State Park|
Originally I had mentally prepared a long rant on this topic, but on consideration, I think the facts speak for themselves. For the past decade or so, I have watched as many counties in central Illinois have been blanketed in wind farms. Even worse, two local parks -- bird magnets each, Moraine View and Comlara Park in McLean County -- have had these monsters erected right along theirs perimeters. It seems that the famous birding Mecca, Magee Marsh in Ohio, is also threatened by encroaching wind farms.
I'm an environmentalist, so I must love wind energy, right? Not always. I think it definitely has its place. And I think that, on average, the damage done to birds by wind turbines is less than that done by mountaintop removal mining or BP-sized oil spills. But that's like comparing the victims of a serial killer to those of a holocaust.
What has always annoyed me is how these wind farms have been slapped together as quickly as possible, before the tax credits run out, without any sort of consideration for their placement or the impact on local and migrating birds. Why would you place these things right outside of one of the few green areas in the county, for example?
Recently, someone posted a link on the Illinois Birders Exchanging Thoughts (IBET) listserv, about some of the damage that these turbines do, especially to some of our most beloved birds of prey. It's not a happy topic, but one that is definitely worth knowing about.
And now I'm done. See? No ranting!