Fledglinks

Posted by ardeidae on April 01, 2005


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Fledglinks

Posted by ardeidae on March 31, 2005


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Birdcams are here!

Posted by ardeidae on March 30, 2005

Beakspeak is proud to announce the addition of Birdcams, a new section of the site listing live video feeds of birds around the world. It’s an exciting time since many birds are nesting. This addition provides a great look into parents incubating eggs, chicks hatching, parents feeding their young, and fledglings practicing to fly so they can leave the nest.

Beakspeak is grateful to the people who are responsible for providing the live video feeds. The list of Birdcams is ongoing, so there will be new video feeds added as they become available. If you find any feeds we should add, please feel free to send us an email. Enjoy!


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Fledglinks

Posted by ardeidae on March 28, 2005


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Fledglinks

Posted by ardeidae on March 26, 2005


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Update: Pine Tree Wind Farm

Posted by ardeidae on March 23, 2005

A previous post covered an article concerning the development of the Pine Tree Wind Farm near Mojave, California and the lack of research being done by the California Department of Water and Power to determine the effect the wind farm will have on migrating songbirds. A quote in the article raises an interesting point.

“Wind turbine owners are not doing enough to mitigate bird and bat mortality,” says K. Shawn Smallwood, an independent ecologist specializing in minimizing bird kills on wind farms who worked on the Pine Tree draft EIR. “What the wind industry is doing right now is denying there’s a problem,” he says. “That’s too bad, because there’s a way to make wind power truly green. They just won’t do it.”

I received an email where Garry George, First Vice President and Conservation Chair at the Los Angeles Audubon Society, addressed the question “What should be done to make wind power truly green?”.

He means that the wind industry wants to put up the farms as fast and cheap as possible and they aren’t taking the time to do the studies to find out what would make them impact less on birds. For instance, how high should the turbines be? Should they be covered in some way? Should they be turned off during certain periods like during migration? Or at dawn? Should the turbines be made of different materials? Those kinds of things would mitigate some of the impact, but those studies are costly and take time, so the power agencies and the wind developers try to act like there is no impact on birds so that they don’t have to do the studies, and they don’t have to take measures to mitigate the impact.

“Truly green” wind power means not destroying the environment or its inhabitants in the process of generating the power. One of the problems with generating wind power is that its key requirement is…wind, the same thing birds rely on for their migration. It may be difficult (and costly) to find a solution to make wind power as green as possible, but it’s the responsibility of those who want to generate the power to make sure they are studying every aspect and taking every measure to minimize the destruction of life.

George’s email continued:

There was a study by the California State Energy Commission on the Altamont wind farms in N. California. It was a four year study and concluded that there was a lot more avian mortality than predicted and gave recommendations for mitigation. Unfortunately, that study wasn’t cited in the Pine Tree EIR.

George is trying to arrange for the Ojai biologist who authored the study to testify as an expert at the DWP Commissioner’s meeting around April 19 when they vote to accept or deny the Environmental Impact Report. Like George said in the LA Weekly article, “We don’t object to wind power in general; we just want them to do all the studies.”


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Fledglinks

Posted by ardeidae on March 22, 2005


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Fledglinks

Posted by ardeidae on March 20, 2005


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Pine Tree Wind Farm Generating a Storm

Posted by ardeidae on March 17, 2005

The Pine Tree Wind Farm is a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power project to deliver green power to 120,000 homes. It sounds like a good idea, but it’s been met with criticism from environmentalists who feel that the DWP hasn’t done enough research in developing its environmental impact report (EIR). Groups such as the Los Angeles Audubon Society are concerned that the study lacks information on migratory songbirds.

There hasn’t been anything in the press about this until now. Ground-breaking time is coming up in June, and this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. The LA Weekly recently published an article that helps explain the criticism.

“It’s a prime location on the north-south migration pattern every fall and spring,” says Garry George, first vice president and conservation chair of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Audubon Society.

The EIR published in July 2004 acknowleged potential harm to Red-tailed Hawks, but George says they left out vital research on migratory songbirds.

“They visited only one time and only for an hour during the birds’ peak migration period, which is April 15th to May 30th,” George says. “How could they conclude it wasn’t harmful to songbirds if they weren’t there when most birds come through?”

The DWP is in the process of publishing a revised EIR, but will it satisfy environmentalists?

Local Audubon groups have offered to pay for a thorough study of the Pine Tree region’s songbirds, says George, “and if they’d revise the EIR according to the study, then we could talk about mitigation measures.” Instead, the DWP has promised to do its own study and include its findings in its revised EIR.

City officials and DWP are under political pressure to make Pine Tree Wind Farm happen, but it’s important not to repeat mistakes made by others.

Bird enthusiasts have found little comfort in the histories of other California wind farms, such as the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area in eastern Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. In addition to killing anywhere from 800 to 1,200 birds of prey a year, including the protected golden eagle, Altamont’s mills also chew up some 3,000 meadowlarks and nearly 400 burrowing owls. The Center for Biological Diversity has filed suit against several companies managing the wind farm alleging unfair business practices (Wind Turbine Prometheus, which will develop Pine Tree with General Electric turbines, is not among them). Even the California Energy Company has recommended retiring the facility’s most lethal turbines.

“Wind turbine owners are not doing enough to mitigate bird and bat mortality,” says K. Shawn Smallwood, an independent ecologist specializing in minimizing bird kills on wind farms who worked on the Pine Tree draft EIR. “What the wind industry is doing right now is denying there’s a problem,” he says. “That’s too bad, because there’s a way to make wind power truly green. They just won’t do it.”

The rumored vote on the revised EIR is April 19, but George isn’t so sure this report will be complete.

“If it’s really a new EIR, it can’t possibly address the migratory period, because it hasn’t happened yet.”

March 19, 2004: In addition to the corrections Garry George left in the comments section of this post yesterday, I also received this email later in the day:

“It turns out that the EIR is not being revised. I spoke to DWP today. Their corporate spokesperson said the wrong thing, and now is denying she said that. The truth is they are still writing responses to the comments and putting forth the final EIR for a vote at DWP Board of Commissioners which they hope will be April 19.

So that information is wrong and the EIR is not being revised, and the vote is still going forward for April 19.  Under CEQA they have to get the EIR with reply to comments to us by April 9.”


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Fledglinks

Posted by ardeidae on March 16, 2005


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