Spring has returned and with it turkey vultures
( Scientific name: Cathartes aurahave). These raptors soar long distances riding high on thermals of air with long outstretched wings. They hunt not by sight, but by an acute sense of smell searching for carrion to feast upon. Social, gregarious and highly intelligent they are often seen flying, feeding and roosting in communal groups.
One of their unique forms of protection against threats is the ability to projectile vomit acidic stomach contents at will. Difficult birds to launch from the ground they take running leaps to lift off and can jettison stomach contents to lighten their weight to aid becoming airborne. They are meticulous about their personal hygiene and serve an essential function as clean- up crews for the environment.
A kettle of turkey vultures seen thermalling in the blade sweep of an Enercon wind turbine part of Niagara wind project. (Video filmed April 2018)
Notice the wind turbine blade sweep movement results in driving a bird downwards out of a soaring climb.
Turbine blade sweep is part of increasing environmental habitat fragmentation and disruption created by wind facilities construction and operations. Mortality strikes (kills) occur in airspace directly disrupted by turbine blade sweeps. As increasing numbers of wind turbines are erected increased adverse environmental impacts are occurring for avian species. Habitat disrupted or avoidance= habitat loss.
Impacts are not only local but include those on a global scale. Flying the global flyways has become an even more dangerous journey with annual migrations spiked with increasing 1000s of wind turbines. Wind power is disrupting avian movements and prefered habitat use on a local and world-wide basis which begs the question: How sustaining and green is that?