Last update: August 18, 2017

SVT News February 2, 2017 Sweden

Expert alarm: wind turbines massacre raptors

The wind park between Västraby and Rögle has only been running for a year. But ornithologists are now sounding an alarm: eleven raptors have already been massacred.

Raptor killed by wind turbine
Eleven dead raptors found. (Photo: Linda Ekström)

By Winnie Gravlund

Translation from Swedish by M. K.

Even when the decision to build the 13 wind turbines was taken by the provincial government, ornithologists warned of the risk of raptors clashing with the turbines.

This area is known to be rich in birds of prey. But no attention was paid to our protests”, says Karl-Erik Söderqvist, Skåne Ornithological Society.

Now, their fears have come true. So far they have found eleven dead birds of prey; eagles, buzzards, kites and peregrine falcons which the association believes have fallen victim to the wind turbines.

When SVT News Helsingborg came to the area, they found a dead buzzard with a broken neck at the base of one of the wind turbines.

Raptor killed by wind turbine
Ornithologists believe that there are unrecorded casualties. (Photo: Linda Ekström)

Unrecorded casualties

Ornithologists believe that their findings are only the tip of the iceberg.

We suspect that there is an unrecorded number of even less common birds destroyed when they flew into the wind turbines”, says Karl-Erik Söderqvist.

He fears that the number of dead birds will continue to rise year after year if nothing is done.

We are talking about a disaster”, he says.

Now the ornithologists are hoping for various solutions to reduce bird deaths.

In addition, we hope that what has been revealed will lead to more accurate surveys of the bird population before building new wind turbines, preferably in cooperation with us”, says Karl Erik Söderqvist.

Ornithologist near wind turbines
Ornithologists warned of the risk that the raptors would collide with the wind turbines. (Photo: Linda Ekström)

Discussing solutions

New solutions might be on the way. The 13 wind turbines are owned by two energy companies, Vardar Vind and Västraby Gård Energi. Pavel Sensky, contact for that company, says they have been taken by surprise by the high number of dead birds of prey.

We counted on a certain bird mortality but not on this scale. We are very concerned, and are now discussing with the environmental administration in Helsingborg and ornithological expertise to find methods that can reduce the scale”, he says.

It was the provincial government who said yes to the wind turbines.

The question of the birds was raised and an inventory was made. We assessed that the risk of bird mortality was not so great that it justified a no to build the turbine project”, says Officer Charlotte Jönsson to SVT News Helsingborg.

What about the bird deaths as ornithologists are now reporting?

It is difficult to comment on the data without first looking at the findings of the whole picture”, says Charlotte Jönsson.

Raptor killed by wind turbine
Now ornithologists hope solutions to reduce bird deaths. (Photo: Linda Ekström)