California wind turbines kill more birds per megawatt than elsewhere. No one is quite sure why. Disturbingly, data from Altamont Pass wind farms, notorious for bird kills, was not included. However, even in California the mortality rate of birds from turbines is far less than from windows, cats, and communications towers.
California’s newest wind turbines may be killing more than 100,000 birds a year, according to a peer-reviewed study to be published in December. Those mortalities seem to climb the taller wind turbines get. And California wind turbines kill more wildlife per megawatt than identical turbines in other parts of the country.
Other studies have shown far lower kill rates.
Duke Energy is paying $1 million fine in a criminal case, admitting they installed wind turbines in a way they knew would bill birds.
The American Bird Conservancy, a nonprofit group that supports protections for bird habitats, said that the plea agreement was a positive step toward addressing bird deaths caused by the wind industry, but that federal officials needed to do more to address violations by other companies.