Friday, February 28, 2020     Volume: 20, Issue: 52

Santa Maria Sun / Canary

The following article was posted on November 25th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 39 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 20, Issue 39

CANARY: For the birds


Are you guys ready for the “systemized killing of an enormous number of birds”? Well, according to Mark Holmgren from the Santa Barbara Audobon Society, that’s exactly what a recent Santa Barbara County Planning Commission decision is going to enable.


Not the birds! Those are my people.

Is it a cell or radio tower? Because according to a peer-reveiwed study, those kill about 6.8 million birds annually, USA Today reported in 2014. So, do they just fly right into the towers, or what? Bird brains!

Wait, maybe it’s a cat-breeding operation. Apparently, those little devils kill about 1.4 million to 3.7 million birds every year, the same study said. This little canary has had several close calls with those clawed pouncers. Cats are violent deviants that should be banned from the planet—and now I have proof! Who’s with me? 

No guys, gals, and everything in between. It’s not either one of those things. It’s the dreaded “bird choppers.” Wind turbines! Those kill between 214,000 and 360,000 birds every year, and they need to be stopped! Clean energy killing our planet. How can we allow such a travesty? 

Wait, what? First, you people want us to stop producing oil because of greenhouse gases and potential oil spills that can contaminate our water sources (which, I totally get). Then you hate solar projects because migrating wild animals can’t get around them. And now, we can’t have wind farms because they could potentially kill migrating birds. So, how are we going to power ourselves? 

Umm. I dunno. Magic!

The Strauss Wind LLC project approved on Nov. 20 has the potential to power about 43,000 homes, according the Vice President of Development Daniel Duke. Strauss Wind is following in footsteps I’m not so sure I would take a chance on. A project sited in the same location was approved in 2008. After several lawsuits, appeals, and a recession, Acciona pulled out of the project in 2013 because they’d dumped enough money into plans that never came to fruition. 

The project was twice as big, and, yes, birds were an issue! 

In fact, Acciona cited a study that stated the site had nearly the lowest number of migratory birds of any wind farm in the state: 227 migrating birds were counted during the study period. 

So—227 birds or 43,000 homes. Choices!

George Bedford, a neighbor to the site who appealed and sued the last project over CEQA concerns, spoke during public comment at the Planning Commission hearing. In 2008, he said he was worried that the noise generated by the plant could unnerve potentially sensitive people. In 2019, he said he was worried that the power lines carrying wind energy to the grid could cause a fire. 

What do you think the project’s chances are? 

Probably about as good as California’s U.S. Senator Kamala Harris becoming the next president of the United States. But you know who’s betting on her? U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara), who endorsed the flailing candidate on Nov. 22. 

Not sure what he’s going to do for her campaign nationally. Or what she’s going to do for his. But I think I smell campaign cash blowing in the wind. 

The canary floats on the breeze but steers clear of bird choppers. Send comments to

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