Bird-Smart Wind Energy: Protecting Birds from Poorly Sited Wind Turbines


Climate change is a critical threat to birds. Recognizing this fact, ABC supports renewable energy, including wind energy, and the transition away from fossil fuels. However, not every wind project is proposed in a suitable location. Some projects — sited in major bird migration routes or stopover sites — threaten huge numbers of birds. Some areas of the country are better suited to the development of wind energy than others. ABC has provided a wind risk assessment map to help identify these places.

We will continue to support the shift toward renewables and away from fossil fuels, while we also stand up for birds by opposing those few wind energy projects proposed in the most dangerous locations for birds. This balanced approach benefits birds by helping to address climate change as well as protecting migratory birds and vital bird habitats.

Our work on wind energy and birds is an important component of our efforts to “eliminate threats” and “conserve habitats.”

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We helped to halt one of several wind energy projects planned for the shores of Lake Erie, in one of the most significant bird migration corridors in the Western Hemisphere and home to a large Bald Eagle (shown) population. The result occurred following submission of a letter of intent to sue from ABC and Black Swamp Bird Observatory. Read more.

The proposed Mill Creek project in northwest Missouri will be relocated away from a globally Important Bird Area, based in part on our arguments that it would kill unacceptable numbers of federally protected birds. We applaud the developers for their forward-looking decision. (See story on page 10 of this newsletter.)

We raised serious concerns about a plan to construct additional commercial wind turbines in Huron County, Michigan. As many as 600 additional turbines could be added, some within the Saginaw Bay Important Bird Area and less than three miles from the lakeshore, in defiance of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recommendations and potentially affecting birds like Kirtland’s Warblers (shown). The fight goes on.


We formally petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect migratory birds from the negative impacts of wind energy, asking for regulations to safeguard wildlife and reward responsible wind energy development. Our petition was rejected when first submitted in late 2011, but a revised version is now being seriously considered.



We thank the Leon Levy Foundation, the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation, and other donors for their support of ABC’s Bird-Smart Wind Energy Campaign.

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