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PhD student ruffles feathers after debunking common misconception about wind turbines: 'There's been promising research'

"Yes, it is absolutely true."

"Yes, it is absolutely true."

Photo Credit: TikTok

Wind turbines can be seen as imposing and sometimes eerie structures, which may be part of the reason why they've been on the receiving end of misinformation that would give bird lovers pause. 

TikToker Rosh (@all_about_climate) shared a short video on the social media platform to debunk a popular misconception about the clean-energy generators. 

"Is it true that wind farms kill birds? This is a common thing you hear, and yes, it is absolutely true," he explained, noting that studies are still "trying to quantify" the numbers. 

"That's bad obviously. We don't want to be killing birds," he continued before pointing out: "On the grand scale of things which kill birds, wind turbines are actually quite low down the list." 

@all_about_climate Do wind turbines harm birds? And how do they compare to other bird destroyers like cats or fossil fuels? #windenergy #windfarm #windturbine #birds #nature #environment #renewablenergy #greenenergy #nature #climatechange #fossilfuels #cats #climatesolutions #rosh #allaboutclimate #grannybibbina ♬ original sound - Rosh

The primary factor? According to data Rosh shared from Statista — and alluded to in his video — your childhood cartoons were on to something. 

Cats cause the deaths of billions of birds each year in the United States, with building and vehicle collisions, poison, and run-ins with electrical lines rounding out the top five. 

"We've had a cat for just over a year and I think his bird count is about 2 or 3 a week," one TikToker shared

Rosh also points out how dirty energy contributes significantly more to bird mortality than wind turbines, which don't produce planet-warming pollution when they generate energy.  

According to the National Audubon Society, rising global temperatures primarily brought on by the burning of oil, gas, and coal are making birds vulnerable, with nearly 70% of the winged creatures in North America "at increasing risk of extinction." 

Oil spills are another factor. While most are small, as noted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, they still have a negative impact. And larger ones, such as the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, can be particularly devastating not just to avian life but also human health.

Given that birds chow down on at least 400 million tons of insects every year, per a study in ScienceDaily, a world with fewer birds has the potential to get seriously overrun by crop-destroying pests.  

Some people have turned to chemical-free lawn care to avoid poisoning our winged friends, while others have participated in Lights Out programs during night hours so birds are able to navigate without confusion. 

In this case, TikTokers clamored to engage with Rosh's educational debunking, liking the video nearly 7,000 times. 

"There's been promising research around reducing bird deaths by painting one [wind turbine] blade black," one commenter pointed out

"We should definitely ban cats gotta save the birds," another person joked.

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