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Harry Huyton and avian perception

In an email, reader Ron Hughes notes that RSPB climate guy Harry Huyton's warnings about the impact of shale gas infrastructure on wildlife:

There are risks associated with using lots of water, with causing the accidental contamination of water, but also from the infrastructure that is required by the industry. This could mean lots of well pads all around the landscape. All of these could have an impact on wildlife.

Ron's grandson has been wondering about this and asks how wildlife can differentiate between the pads for fracking wells, and those for wind turbines and solar panels.

A good question, young man, a good question.

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Reader Comments (32)

Huyton and the RAPB are "footpads"

Mar 13, 2014 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

Ahhh.... the "risks associated with using lots of water".
Yes, of course there is the risk of getting wet associated with spilling water. And in a large water spillage, one might possibly drown, as unlikely as that may seem.

Mar 13, 2014 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

But the wading birds will love it, won't they!

Mar 13, 2014 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterSpartacusisfree

The pads give off the same magical Gaia energy that STOR diesel generators give off. As opposed to the nasty, dirty, evil diesel car engines.

Mar 13, 2014 at 11:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

At least he didn't use "impact" as a verb.

Mar 13, 2014 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Barrett

There is something about climate obsession that seems to lower the intelligence of its believers, as Harry Huyton sadly demonstrates.

Mar 13, 2014 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Here are two possible answers for Ron's grandson.

1) Birds are very intelligent animals; some of them can even talk. Admittedly the types that talk do tend to repeat the same words and phrases, but then so do politicians.

2) Except when they are in their nests, birds spend most of their time outdoors and therefore they are in tune with nature which makes them natural Greens. If birds were given the vote they would support parties in favour of wind turbines and oppose those in favour of fracking. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Vultures are natural Tories.

Mar 13, 2014 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

@hunter: can the intelligence of 'climate obsessives' get any lower? The Public must know...........

Mar 13, 2014 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterSpartacusisfree

Here are two possible answers for Ron's grandson.

1) Birds are very intelligent animals; some of them can even talk. Admittedly the types that talk do tend to repeat the same words and phrases, but then so do politicians.
Mar 13, 2014 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Roy, for a talking bird's response to Harry Huyton, try googling "Ruby the swearing parrot" or "X rated Ruby".
Select the video that lasts 1min 11sec, or 1min10sec.

Mar 13, 2014 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Don't these idiots look at America? Over 5m wells fracked no drinking water pollution, as far as the EPA knows, and according to the Dallas city council, who have authorised several wells, no excessive use of water. In fact saline waters found at depth are reinjected so are not any problem.

These people are he new Luddites

Mar 13, 2014 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

The pads for wind turbines are often on peatland and so the pads and tracks destroy a lot of peat and add CO2 to the atmosphere. It's a a waste of good peat, as it is an ideal growing medium for in the garden.

Mar 13, 2014 at 12:15 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

"... using lots of water ..."

Are there any proposed fracking sites in Somerset? Just a thought!

Mar 13, 2014 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered Commentergraphicconception

I cannot follow or see any logic in the quote at the head-post.

Danger > using lots of water > accidental contamination of water> infrastructure required by the industry > lots of well pads around the landscape > impact on wildlife


Danger > green ramblings

Mar 13, 2014 at 12:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

hunter wrote, "There is something about climate obsession that seems to lower the intelligence of its believers ... "

I think you've got that backwards. They start with a deficit and make losses from there.

Mar 13, 2014 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpeed

Wildlife can easily tell the difference between concrete fracking pads and concrete windmill pads. Windmill pads are surrounded by dead birds and bats which warn other wildlife to keep away.

Mar 13, 2014 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterShotover

Perhaps an as yet unreported side-effect of Climate Change, is that unlike its effects upon RSPB spokespeople, it improves the intelligence of wildlife?

Mar 13, 2014 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

The trouble is, we tend to want to apply logical thought to the crazed ramblings of these eco-luddites...

Mar 13, 2014 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterSherlock1

Why should we think that the RSPB would try and look at this on rational, scientific grounds?
That's not what they're about is it?

"think of the poor little birdies!"

Mar 13, 2014 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered Commentertom0mason

Dangerous stuff, this Dihydrogen Monoxide. Kills lots of people every year, yet we can't live without it.

Mar 13, 2014 at 12:58 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

And windmills (sorry, wind turbines) have less IMPACT on wildlife (birds and bats) than fracking pads?

Boy are these guys delusional.

Or to quote a phrase "there are non so blind as those who will not see".

Mar 13, 2014 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Bearing in mind that cement production uses large amounts of water, and that modern large windmills have 1000 ton concrete foundations, and that it would take several score - at least - windmills to provide the equivalent of the electricity generated from burning the gas produced by one well fracked well, the faux concern over water use is hypocritical nonsense. Do these people ever listen to themselves?

Mar 13, 2014 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

O/T but can't help but laugh at the adverts I get on BH. Today:

EvoEnergy - Install solar panels before April and beat the FIT cut
Crown Oil - Red diesel supplied in bulk and barrel
Guardian Newspaper - the place to look for job adverts...

Those three made me smile anyway! What do they think the BH demographic looks like?

Mar 13, 2014 at 1:17 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

Some solar installations are none too bird-friendly, either...


Mar 13, 2014 at 1:23 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Phillip Bratby
Peat is also a source of energy when Vlad turns off the gas, it has even been turned into oil. scroll to Isle of Lewis - Birth of an Oil Industry

Mar 13, 2014 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

A photo of an eagle doing the rounds on Twitter this week - shows what looks like an eagle - sliced in two before it even found the wind turbine pad

Mar 13, 2014 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Cook

So I don't get this. How can a STATIC well head the size of a small she's* be more damaging to the environment and birds than a 100 foot high windmill with bird killing blades???

And not just a single windmill but entire farms of the bird slicing menaces!!!

[*shed. See below]

Mar 13, 2014 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman


Mar 13, 2014 at 2:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

"There are risks associated with using lots of water"

You can say that again!

Those living on the Somerset Levels have found that out to their own cost! And they didn't even ask for it: they positively rejected it!

Mar 13, 2014 at 5:39 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Reminds me of this old joke...

Mar 13, 2014 at 10:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn M

"one cat's lyin' by the fireplace, and another cat just come in from the snowstorm, and they curl up together and after a time one's just as comfy as the other"

It's easy when it's explained properly.

Mar 13, 2014 at 11:14 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

You ask if the climate obsessed get any dumber?
I hope not, or their autonomic reflexes could be compromised.
For someone who claims to care about birds to favor windmills is like them also favoring a feral cat capture and release program in a nesting area.

Mar 14, 2014 at 4:37 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Does anyone know where the RSPCA gets the idea from that windmills don't kill birds?

If windmills don't kill birds why then was the law changed to protect windmill owners from prosecution from killing birds if these things don't kill birds?


Mar 14, 2014 at 8:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

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