Do wind turbines hurt birds?

Wind turbines pose only a tiny danger to bird life. Far greater is climate change, which threatens many species with extinction. Wind power is an important way of reducing that threat.


Do wind turbines pose a massive threat to birdlife?


Only a tiny proportion of bird deaths are due to wind turbines. Climate change poses a much greater threat, and wind power is helping fight this.

Birds under threat from human activities

Every year, millions of birds die as a result of human activities. According to a study from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, there are some direct causes of death, like being hit by cars, flying into tall structures, or being eaten by domestic cats. There are also many indirect causes, like habitat destruction, disruption of ecosystems, and human-caused changes in climate and weather patterns.1

A study in the UK observed only six bird deaths in an offshore wind farm over two years.2

A bird resting on a tree branch facing offshore wind turbines shows how seabirds can coexist safely with offshore wind.

Wind turbines cause less than one in 4,000 bird deaths

Recently, wind turbines have received a lot of attention as a cause of death for birds. While it is true that some birds die every year by flying into turbine towers or blades, the actual numbers are negligible. Statistics show that in the United States, wind energy facilities cause less than one in 4,000 documented bird deaths from industrial activities.1
Top threats to birds in the U.S.
A graph showing major sources of harm to birds and seabirds, including cars, cats, tall buildings, and cellphone towers.
Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Climate change the biggest threat

Meanwhile, entire species and ecosystems are threatened by the unprecedented changes to Earth’s atmosphere that we’re already seeing as a consequence of burning fossil fuels. Almost 400 North American bird species are thought to be at risk of extinction as a result of climate change.1

The transition from fossil fuels to clean energy
is one of the biggest steps we can take to limit these changes and protect all plant and animal life on Earth.

Ørsted is minimizing the impact of wind power on birds

The numbers may already be small, but at Ørsted we care about making sure our activities as a wind power developer pose as small a threat to birds as possible.

Before we construct any of our projects, we undertake an environmental impact assessment. Among other things, this investigates the possible effect our project might have on biodiversity, including all birdlife. We submit this assessment to the relevant planning authorities and, where feasible, take action to mitigate predicted impacts as much as possible.

We also continue monitoring impacts throughout the operational life of the wind farm. On existing projects, this has included carrying out tagging studies to understand the movement of birds in and around turbine structures.

Research and innovation to improve bird safety
Ørsted’s research and development program supports the latest innovations to help reduce the impact of wind farms on birds. We work with the American Wind Wildlife Institute and invest in new technology to assess projects, improve conservation, and implement the latest solutions to protect birds on our wind farms.
Illustration of wind turbine blades on shore and an offshore wind turbine at sea shows how turbines can be recycled.
Can wind turbines be recycled?
When wind turbines eventually reach the end of their lifespan, we recycle 85 to 95% of what they’re made of.
An offshore wind turbine by an onshore factory emitting carbon represent the limited carbon footprint of offshore wind.
What is the carbon footprint of offshore wind?
Emissions from building turbines are vastly outweighed by those saved through generating clean power.
Offshore wind turbines juxtaposed with homes on shore represent the limited impact of offshore wind on property values.
Do wind farms impact property value?
Studies reveal that offshore wind has little to no influence on property prices.
Offshore wind turbines overlooking beach towels and umbrellas represent the limited impact of offshore wind on tourism.
Do offshore wind farms harm tourism?
Offshore wind has only recently arrived in the U.S. But from what we know so far, there is no reason to fear that it puts tourists off visiting the ocean.
Several offshore wind turbines juxtaposed with onshore energy sources, showing the reliability of offshore wind energy.
Is offshore wind power reliable?
Offshore wind is a highly reliable energy source. Wind turbines are able to generate clean energy out at sea, even when it seems calm from the shore.
A fishing boat and fish pass by offshore wind turbines, showing how offshore wind can coexist with commercial fishing.
Can offshore wind and commercial fishing coexist?
We work closely with the fishing industry when planning, building and operating our wind farms, ensuring peaceful coexistence.
Close-up of an Ørsted offshore wind turbine, explaining how to reliably transform offshore wind into clean electricity.
What is offshore wind power?

Offshore wind power explained

How we capture the power of the wind at sea to produce clean, reliable electricity