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Bird Friendly Turbines

Wind turbines are a great source for alternative energy. They're less great, however, for birds.

Annually in the U.S., about 40,000 birds have close encounters of the fatal kind with wind turbines -- including collisions, and electrocutions.

The American Bird Conservancy notes that about seven birds die per turbine each year -- but that's just one in every 10,000 human-caused bird deaths, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Compare that with the 900 million birds that die from hitting glass windows each year.

Still, wildlife advocates note the numbers are more significant for raptors, and along migration routes. And with more wind farms planned, they're concerned.

But their advocacy is having an effect. Studies on bird deaths, plus lawsuits, have led to change. In a county in California, turbine companies and environmentalists, have agreed to develop measures to reduce bird deaths. These include a move toward taller, slower, bird-friendlier turbines.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently formed an advisory committee to create similar national guidelines. They'll present recommendations sometime this year that will aim to make clean wind energy safer for our feathered friends.

Script by Bob Rhein

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