Birds Deaths related to Towers: Perspective

Bird v. Tower

The firm of Curry & Kerlinger, LLC (who serve as “consultants to the wind power industry on birds and other wildlife issues”) has an interesting set of stats about the various ways that birds are killed each year:

Deaths annually from (descending ranking):

  • Glass Windows: 100 to 900+ million
  • Electrical Transmission lines: “up to 174 million”
  • House Cats: 100 million
  • Hunting: 100+ million
  • Autos/Trucks: 50 to 100 million
  • Agriculture: 67 million
  • Communications Towers: 4 to 10 million
  • Oil and Gas Extraction: 1 to 2 million
  • Power line electrocutions: >1,000
  • Land Development; Stock Tanks; Logging and Strip Mining; Commercial Fishing: Unknown

The stats suggest that before we worry about birds hitting towers, we should focus on the real bird killers: All of the others above the telecom listing.  For about every 109 bird deaths, 108 are attributable to non-telecom reasons.

It’s a perspective thing…just like RF safety.



2 comments to Birds Deaths related to Towers: Perspective

  • Boedette

    But, shouldn’t we do everything we can when building new towers to avoid the kills? When people become aware of the danger, it’s not helpful to say….oh, this kills more or that kills more. A kill is a kill.

  • The problem that seems difficult is that for some towers to work properly (especially TV, FM, and AM towers), they need to be either on a tall hill, or be tall. This will sometimes conflict with bird migration patterns, but the public good (however that is defined) supports towers more than birds.

    Similarly, tall buildings with transparent glass (or highly reflective glass) also pose threats to birds, but there doesn’t seem to be the same outcry over those structures.

    It will be interesting to see how the FCC comes down on this topic.


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