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How many birds are struck by wind turbine blades? Birds killed by wind turbines © Alamy

How many birds are killed by wind turbines in the UK?

Published: 15th February, 2022 at 11:00
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The use of wind turbines to generate electricity is a popular, sustainable and renewable energy source. But what effect does it have on the bird population?

As wind energy has grown in popularity, reports of birds killed by wind turbines have become more common. Few studies have investigated the phenomenon, but estimates suggest that between 10,000 and 100,000 birds are killed by turbine blade strikes annually in the UK.

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That’s a lot, but it’s worth noting that approximately 55 million birds are killed in the UK each year by domestic cats. Nevertheless, research suggests there may be ways to make wind turbines safer for wildlife. For example, a small-scale study in Norway found that painting one of the wind turbines blades black, reduced bird deaths by 70 per cent.

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Asked by: Alejandra Lopez, Brighton

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Authors

Dr Claire Asher is a science journalist and has a PhD in Genetics, Ecology, and Evolution (GEE) at the University of Leeds. She also works part time as Manager of the UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) Network, based at Imperial College London. Asher is also the author of Brave Green World: How Science Can Save Our Planet.

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