Broken Wing: Birds, Blades, and Broken PromisesHe soars, searching for carrion. With a new chick in the nest and the mother in constant attendance, he is busy today, every day, searching, seeking sustenance. They have just a few months to bring the youth to the edge of the aerie, to watch her try her new wings, to see her fly. Her own search would then begin. Their race would survive another winter, another spring.

Whoomp.

He circled the tiny, dark image of death below. Food. His action would bring others of their tribe. A kettle forms in the sky as, one by one, they spy a fellow Geier circling a potential meal. They prowl the skies seeking food from death. Their natural job is to clean the hillsides of dead animals. They eat the remains of what others have killed. Or of what has died unnaturally.

Whoomp. Whoomp.

Like Lucifer stuck below heaven, the wind turbine’s white wings strum the air. Their slow movement gives an illusion of grandeur, of greatness. Plugged into the ground with their deep seated leg, they too seek sustenance, from the air. They seek to draw power from nothing, from the wind. Like the Avatar’s ground eating machine, they consume everything in their path.

Giannis glides gracefully across the blue white morning sky. At times he thinks the griffon is playing in and out of the blades, as if in a dance. How soon it would become danse macabre… He is a paraglider with a GoPro HD cam, enjoying a cool morning thermal. The lift is subtle, the first of many to warm the island of Crete. From 600 meters he can see the wine dark sea surrounding his aery vigil. The griffon can see the dark smudges moving towards him, others from the tribe seeking sustenance. The paraglider could also see—down into the powerful blades.

Whoomp. Whoomp.

He zooms in on the majestic carrion eater. As you watch his eyes, he sees only the meal, only the fodder for his mate, their chicks. For agonizing minutes you watch his slow gyration across the heavens, descending to dinner.
The blade slices his wing, nearly severing it from his body. His graceful gyre becomes a death spiral. He falls gracelessly to Earth.

Giannis lands by the majestic bird. The camera records his staggering to get to his feet. He struggles, not understanding. His wing lies useless. He staggers again, collapses. The camera zooms in. His last moment? His eyes are searching for—his meal, their nest, the future.

Is all lost? Will he become the meal for another? Will his mate have to abandon the nest in search of their meals now? His chicks may fall to another bird of prey, perhaps a golden eagle or another griffon. Her life, her line, may end with this Avatar, this foreboding of the future.

The death of birds at the hands of these 400 foot Franken Towers is wide spread—and growing. Click To Tweet

The death of birds at the hands of these 400 foot Franken Towers is wide spread—and growing. The story here is from England.

British birders—twitchers—flocked to the Outer Hebrides, the northernmost islands of the British Isles, in the summer of 2013 to see the rarest of birds, the white-throated needletail. Dozens were pleased with sitings all morning, only to watch in horror as a local turbine sliced it to death. Not since 1991 had the genus been sighted there—and not soon will it return.

Dozens of bird watchers traveled to the northern Scottish island of Harris to view a rare white-throated needletail only to see it killed after flying directly into a wind turbine.


Broken Wing: Birds, Blades and Broken Promises is available on 1/26/16.
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