June 22, 2006

Wind Farm Kills Nine Eagles in Norway

OSLO (Reuters) - Windmills have killed nine eagles in less than a year at a key breeding site in Norway, showing that governments should be more cautious in picking where to set up turbines, a conservation group said on Friday.

Only one pair of white-tailed eagles -- Europe's biggest eagle species -- had young this year on the windmill site at Smoela, a set of islands off mid-Norway, Britain's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said in a statement.

Smoela used to be a stronghold of the species with up to 19 pairs before the wind park opened in 2002, it said.

"Turbine blades have killed nine of the birds in the last 10 months including all three chicks that fledged last year," it said.

The RSPB urged governments to be more cautious in deciding where to put up wind farms. "Smoela is demonstrating the damage that can be caused by a wnid farm in the wrong location," asid Rowena Langston, senior research biologist at the RSPB.

The first 20 turbines on Smoela started up in 2002 with the other 48 added in the second half of 2005. Examination of the dead birds blamed their deaths on "multiple trauma by a heavy blow."