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Bird-friendly offshore wind is possible, National Wildlife Federation advocate says » Yale Climate Connections

Climate change poses grave threats to many bird species around the world. Transitioning to clean energy can help protect them.

Helen Rose Patterson of the National Wildlife Federation says offshore wind is a promising way to reduce climate-warming carbon pollution. But turbines can also create risks for birds, so she says it’s important to prevent birds from flying into them.

“And so we want to see offshore wind be successful, and we have a very high bar for what responsible development looks like,” she says.

Patterson says monitoring birds’ flight paths and migratory patterns can help inform where turbines are sited and provide data about which species are in danger.

And at times and in places where collisions are more likely, there are ways to minimize the risk.

For example, she says wind turbines could be paused when lots of migratory birds are passing.

And other measures, like painting turbines black, or using flashing lights instead of steady-burning lights, have been found to reduce collisions.

“I think that offshore wind presents us with a really unique opportunity to substantially reduce carbon emissions,” Patterson says.

And that will help protect birds in the long term.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media

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