UP TO 192 birds are killed by wind turbines at the Waubra Wind Farm each year, according to new figures.
The numbers were collected by multinational energy firm Acciona, which runs the farm, between 2009 and 2011.
Trained hunting dogs collected 61 bird carcasses from 34 turbines, which the company then used to extrapolate across the farm’s 128 turbines.
Carcasses collected by foxes and other scavengers were also taken into consideration for the tally, which was below the expected total of 200 or more originally included in the site’s Bat and Avifauna Management (BAM) plan.
Acciona’s director of engineering, construction and operation Brett Wickham said he was pleased the results came out lower than the modelled numbers.
“Some bird deaths are unavoidable. When we compare them to flying into buildings and cars, their collisions with turbines are much less,” Mr Wickham said.
Of the collisions recorded, 37 per cent were the Australian magpie (23 deaths), followed by the Brown Falcon (10 deaths).
The BAM plan was initiated by Acciona, approved and operated in collaboration with Department of Sustainability and Environment.
DSE Environment and Water Regional Manager South West Peter Codd said the plan sets out the type of monitoring and frequency expected of wind farms, and sets limits for detected bird and bat losses.
“Acciona completed the two-year monitoring requirements for the Waubra Wind Farm in 2010, in accordance with the BAM plan and to a very high standard,” Mr Codd said.
Brolgas were recently recorded in the area for the first time since the erection of the turbines, but only stayed for a week.
“It would have been great for the brolgas to stay longer so we could monitor how they interacted with the turbines,” Mr Wickham said.
No brolga deaths were recorded in the study.
Acciona plans to continue to monitor the deaths of birds at their sites and implement strategies to reduce the figures.
“If we encounter endangered species of birds that would be a greater problem, but we haven’t seen any endangered species,” Mr Wickham said.