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French naturalist blacklisted for whistle-blowing on bird mortality

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Mark Duchamp, a French naturalist living in Spain and the president of Save the Eagles International, (STEI) is finally vindicated for his allegations that bird deaths from industrial wind turbines are much higher than previously thought.

“This is what I have been claiming for 9 years,” says Duchamp, “but only this month (March 2011) did SEO (Spanish Ornithological Society) recognize the danger. During all that time I have been treated as a heretic, and was banned from ornithology forums where my whistle-blowing was causing discomfort in the profession.”

He praises the American Bird Conservancy, Birdlife Bulgaria, and SEO for their firm stand against improperly sited windfarms, but laments that it will take more years before the most prominent bird societies do likewise. Conflicts of interests are at the root of the problem, he says.

The STEI website goes on to say, “We cannot count on mainstream ornithologists and bird societies to save bird life from the windfarm threat. These derive much of their income from the windfarm business, and that creates a powerful conflict of interest that clouds their vision and corrupts their conscience.”

Unlike cars, buildings, and domestic cats, wind turbine blades and high tension lines often kill protected or endangered birds like eagles, cranes and storks.  Duchamp objects to the wind industry comparing bird mortality at windfarms to those from other causes related to human activities. These other threats have already reduced bird populations worldwide, he said, and are continuing to do so. “But mortality caused by windfarms and their power lines is new and additional,” he adds, “and like the proverbial last drop that spills the glass, its effects will be upsetting.”

STEI warns that, if we are to save our emblematic bird species from this new threat, it is urgent to impose a moratorium on windfarm construction and to call for a really independent commission to investigate the whole windfarm matter, starting with the effectiveness of this intermittent, unreliable, and ruinous form of energy.

Duchamp founded Save the Eagles International in 2009, to raise awareness and to publish inconvenient bird mortality statistics that most bird societies fail to make available to the public. These numbers and their sources can be found on the STEI website, along with many photographs and videos of birds killed by industrial wind turbines.

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