The bald eagle is our national bird. Bald eagles are the most famous and admired birds in the Hudson Valley. Every winter, from mid-December to mid-March, bald eagles that breed in Canada and the Adirondacks migrate south a few 100 miles to the Hudson Valley. Ninety percent of their diet is fish, so they stay close to water throughout their lives. When riding an early morning train during the period between Poughkeepsie and Croton, one may see as many as 20 to 30 bald eagles along the river. A few immature eagles (up to 5 years of age) may stay here year-round.
Near Putnam County, many eagles roost at night on Iona Island. Then, early in the morning, some of them move up and down the river looking for food. Many of these birds also fly to the lakes in central Putnam County and northern Westchester County to feed. This route would them directly across the area where the proposed wind turbines would be built.
Small birds like warblers and sparrows are not endangered by wind turbines. However, birds like eagles, herons, hawks and vultures are particularly vulnerable to wind turbines because of their large size, since it takes them longer to pass through the blades of the turbines. The American Bird Conservancy (of which I am a member and was on its Board of Directors from 1998-2001) and other environmental organizations have sued federal and state agencies, particularly in the Midwest and West, for approving wind farms that violate federal laws meant to protect birds.
I urge the Zoning Board of Appeals to consider the protection of bald eagles and other large birds of the Hudson Valley in the current wind turbines matter. It should be inconceivable to all of our citizens to imagine these turbines scattered all over Philipstown.
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