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Photo by Tom Grey

Wind Power

Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society supports the use of properly-sited and managed wind turbines. We are working around the county to promote sensible wind energy and to advise wind farm managers on how to reduce raptor kills.

Read National Audubon Society's position on wind energy.

Altamont Pass

Established in 1982, the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA) in eastern Alameda and Contra Costa Counties has 5,400 windmills and is one of the largest in the country. While the wind farm is beneficial as a source of clean electric power, it has also proved to be deadly to birds of prey. The small, now obsolete windmills at Altamont have killed more birds than any other wind facility in North America. This is partly because the wind farm is located on a major bird migratory route in an area with high concentrations of raptors, including the highest density of breeding Golden Eagles in the world.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity (PDF), raptor experts hired by the California Energy Commission determined that each year, Altamont Pass wind turbines kill an estimated 880 to 1,300 birds of prey, including more than 75 Golden Eagles, several hundred Red-tailed Hawks, several hundred Burrowing Owls, and hundreds of other raptors including American Kestrels, Great-horned Owls, Ferruginous Hawks, and Barn Owls. These kills of over 40 different bird species violate federal and state wildlife protection laws such as the Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle Protection Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and several California Fish and Game code provisions.

How you can help!

• You can help with these or other projects that interest you by becoming a Volunteer for Conservation. We have many ways that you can help from simply speaking out as part of our Conservation Action Alert Network to joining our Environmental Action Committee (EAC).

• Make a tax-deductible donation to support these and other local conservation efforts.