Confessions of a windfarm bird-kill “control specialist” (Michigan)

Jan 21, 2013


Editor’s note:  In the 10 years (Has it been that long?) I’ve been documenting Big Wind’s crimes against the earth and all that dwell therein, I must say I have never read a document as poignant and enraging as this one, below.  This poem by Mitchell Grabois.

Mr. Grabois was a resident of a new “windfarm” in Ludington (Mason County), Michigan, till he moved away, after fifty-six turbines moved into the neighborhood.  Each 1.8 MW.  Fifty-six turbines which began generating ILFN, slaughtering birds, and driving the neighbors mad—on Thanksgiving Day, 2012.

I learned about Mr. Grabois from a correspondent who wrote the following.

On Saturday I spent the day with Cary and Karen Shineldecker, “residents” of the “wind park.”  They shared an amazing poem with me, written by one of their neighbors, who, luckily, managed to sell his home and get out.  The poem was posted two days ago on an arts and poetry blog.

Cary and Karen are trying to sell their home.  They both have significant symptoms.   Cary was on Wind Wise Radio last night.  They both have headaches.  Can’t sleep.  Exhaustion.

They also wake up with panic attacks and have to take sleeping pills and beer before bedtime, just to get some sleep.  Their pillows are just 1139 feet from the nearest turbine, which is situated on a knoll above them, so audible and low frequency noise funnels down to their bedroom.

I thought you might like this poem, written by a former “wind park” resident and who did get out of his acoustically toxic home.  That “park” has a lot of people suffering from symptoms right now.  It’s only been plugged in since Thanksgiving.  Setbacks are ridiculous.  Oh, and there are a hell of a lotta “leasers” who signed easements for a whopping $100!  And these people are all gagged and their setbacks are  approximately 900 feet!

Only in Michigan would somebody sign an easement for 100 dollars!  These are not folks “hosting” turbines; these are folks on tiny properties who got conned.


I’m an Animal Control Specialist
a special kind
I don’t capture feral cats
or snarling dogs
don’t deal with skunks
or live critters of any kind

I pick up dead birds at the base of wind turbines
and put them in plastic sacks

I sometimes see the
moment of impact
when flight and life simultaneously cease
Once I caught an eagle as it plummeted to earth
I didn’t know what to do with it
On impulse I hugged and kissed it goodbye
then felt stupid
was glad no one was there to see

I never knew birds were so intent on their destinations
so obsessive-compulsive and unaware
I’ve seen them swerve mid-air to avoid my car’s bumper
but up in the sky five-hundred feet
they don’t expect cars

They get into a rhythm of flight
in which their blood assumes
that the elevations are free of
obstacles’ strife
but blades express their evil intent
by spinning

I live within the perimeters of this “wind farm”
in my old family farmhouse
Many of these farmhouses have tumbled down
More will tumble as people escape
the noise and flicker
and the weird unexpected symptoms they bring
the pressure in the ears
dizziness and nausea
the inability to concentrate
I can go on
but part of my contract is that I can’t talk about it
can’t even mention it

So just forget it
You didn’t hear it from me

No one will buy these fucking houses
They are as damned as if they’d been erected
in a Stephen King novel

My grandfather used to sit on the front porch
and listen to birdsong
and he’d say to me: Did you hear that?
Do you know who that is?
as if the bird were a human being I’d met
an uncle or aunt
whose voice I should recognize

Jays, chickadees, robins, red-winged blackbirds
I don’t hear them anymore
can’t hear them through the constant loud drone
of turbine acoustic pollution
the whirring blades
the grinding gears

But I make my living picking up the dead birds
I pluck the feathers
before I dispose of them
and store them in old shoe boxes
in my grandfather’s office
where he wrote poems and published them in farm journals
under the pen name Al Falfa

I know I’m crazy, but I think maybe my dead grandpa
runs his hands through those loose feathers at night
the loose feathers of dead birds
whose ancestors he lived with

You might think my job is not full-time
but it is
because my boss at Consumer’s Energy
wants the birds gone
as soon as they hit the ground
if possible
He doesn’t want them laying around
for the anti-windmill photographers
to document
so all day I’m driving my rattle-trap Mazda pick-up
from one end of the township to the other

I grew up here
lived here all my life
but I never knew the place
“like the back of my hand”
until I followed Death around

Mitchell Grabois

The Wounded Angel, Hugo Simberg

The Wounded Angel, Hugo Simberg


  1. Comment by Jackie on 01/21/2013 at 4:12 pm

    … and so doth “Consumer’s Energy” literally go DOWN in history….

  2. Comment by Tom Whitesell on 01/21/2013 at 4:46 pm

    God. That’s horrible.

    Editor’s note:  Tom is a Vermonter by many generations, although he lives, at present, on the NY side of Lake Champlain.  His love of the untrammeled earth runs deep.

  3. Comment by Ellen Landauer on 01/21/2013 at 6:21 pm

    Ahh – sad sad sad! So much for the oft-repeated ‘they don’t kill many birds/bats’ by the greedy developers and ignorant people who consider themselves ‘green’ and dutifully bring recycled bags to the food co-op.

    For what? Nothing. No benefit to Industrial Wind Turbine machines – only heartbreak and ruin.

    Here’s part of a poem I wrote:

    The soaring of a hawk does something to me
    Like nothing else ever has done
    My heart soars with them in harmonic feeling, all One
    Since when did those who call themselves Green
    Forsake the soaring of a hawk — for love of a machine?

  4. Comment by gail (Italy) on 01/22/2013 at 7:55 am

    … until I followed Death around.


    Editor’s note: Gail Mair and her husband were driven from their beloved home by wind turbines. They became “clean, green, renewable wind energy” refugees.

  5. Comment by Jim Wiegand on 01/22/2013 at 12:55 pm

    How many fraudulent wind industry reports do I have to expose? How many lies do we have to hear from this industry? How many eagles and whooping cranes have to disappear? How many ecosystems and landscapes have to be devoured before the masses wake up?

    Folks I have to tell there are a million more wind turbines planned for this country. Some will tower 700 to 1000 feet into the air. They are being built in one project at a time so people are not alarmed. This country is going to be transformed.

    The industrial ruination from wind energy has only just begun. But when the wind industry gets done choking the major wind currents with their turbines there will be new problems. The eddies created from all these wind turbines will redirect winds like boulders in a stream. Folks down wind will experience their own climate change because the winds that bring them weather will have been log-jammed and deflected from blade turbulence.

    Another new problem will also emerge. Carbon dioxide levels and silly CO2 credits will no longer matter because there will be a much bigger problem with our atmosphere, oxygen depletion.

    As for the brain washed city dwellers that embrace the wind industry’s green slogans, they can feel no pain. Many of them are even enjoying undeserved profits.

    Somehow we have to wake them up, or this is our future.

    Editor’s note: Jim Wiegand lives in California and is a wildlife biologist who trained at UC Berkeley, many years ago.  His specialty is raptors.  He has personally studied raptor behavior and survival over huge swaths of California wilderness.  He has done this for years.  One of his current interests is the disappearance of Whooping Cranes.  Jim has argued forcefully in these pages, and elsewhere, that wind turbines obstructing the Crane flyway are almost certainly killing these magnificent birds.  He believes that wind company bird-kill “control specialists” are paid to remove the bodies.  Just as Mitchell Grabois reveals, here.

  6. Comment by Jim Wiegand on 01/22/2013 at 1:59 pm

    The feathers in this poem made me think of something. The wind industry and USFWS are now patronizing Native Americans by giving them feathers and parts from their eagle carcasses. So now Indian Tribes can now get all the eagle feathers they could ever hope for from the eagles slaughtered at wind projects.

    WASHINGTON – “The Justice Department said last October it is going to allow members of federally recognized Native American tribes to possess eagle feathers, although that’s a federal crime. Under the new Justice Department policy, tribal members will not be prosecuted for wearing or carrying federally protected birds, bird feathers or parts. They also may pick up feathers found in the wild as long as they do not disturb federally protected birds or nests. Giving, lending or trading feathers or bird parts among tribe members, without any other compensation, also will be allowed.”

    “But the Justice Department will continue to prosecute tribe members and nonmembers (except wind turbine personnel) alike for violating federal laws that prohibit killing eagles and other migratory birds or the buying or selling the feathers or other bird parts.”

  7. Comment by Jutta on 01/22/2013 at 2:41 pm

    The horror of the Big Wind’s tyranny is everywhere.

    Thanks for the report, this heartbreaking poem of Mr. Grabois, and the lines written by Ellen, even if it makes me shudder. And again I’m captured by this wind turbine-sadness, which has accompanied me for the past 18 years.

    But it’s up to us to continue our fight against these monsters, to save the biodiversity, democracy and our lives.

    Let’s never give up, before the last turbine has been vanquished on earth.

    With great compassion for all of you,

    Jutta from Northern-Germany

    Editor’s note: Jutta and her husband Marco have lived surrounded by industrial wind turbines, for years. They and their farm animals have been suffering from Wind Turbine Syndrome for as many years.

  8. Comment by Yuki (Japan) on 01/22/2013 at 11:49 pm

    I translated the sad poem into Japanese to introduce it to Japanese people.

    We are in a terrible situation now, in Japan. Everyone is eager for renewables. Nobody listens to me.
    My eyes are full of tears for the birds and Mitchell.

    Editor’s note:  The author of this letter is a Japanese journalist.

  9. Comment by Ella on 01/23/2013 at 8:10 am

    “On impulse I hugged and kissed it goodbye
    then felt stupid
    was glad no one was there to see”

    To the author of this poem,

    Please, do not for one minute feel “stupid.” Your compassion in your heart shows through. NEVER feel “stupid” that you have compassion for the life on this planet.

    Editor’s note:  Amen!

  10. Comment by gbees on 01/23/2013 at 6:32 pm

    It’s happening everywhere . . .

  11. Comment by Jim Wiegand on 01/24/2013 at 11:45 am

    The logic of the turbine builders and their supporters goes like this. We are going to lose so many species because of climate change that destruction from our turbines and infrastructure it is the lesser of two evils. We should be able to kill off bird populations across the world because it is in our best interests. According to them they have taken the high road will insure our survival.

    What nonsense, all this is in their best interests. If one buys into this twisted logic then why should we have any wildlife protection laws, wildlife agencies, or conservation groups? According to them most of these species are going to die off anyway. This same logic is being used to ruin communities and run off with profits. Or maybe we take it even further and use this logic to start killing, all these people are going to die anyway.

    Climate change may alter bird life but these turbines will absolutely slaughter off many rare protected species to extinction. Climate Change also means shifting precipitation
    patterns and changing ecosystems. Birds can fly and adapt, but they have no chance if they are killed off. And what about biodiversity and the important role birds play in our world? Where are the voices of reason? Where are the studies that will expose the hell we will pay for a turbine infested world?

    First and foremost everybody has to keep in mind the character of those behind this green madness. They are not nice people they are ruthless. They receive incredible profits and have their own tailored “credits” from taxpayers. These credits like the carbon credits and production tax credits are actually are stolen tax dollars that could be used for real solutions. It is also perfectly fine to rig science, conservation groups and politicians with their donations. Studies are routinely rigged for “their” desired outcome so impacts can be hidden. They rig government agencies so they get free passes for their activities, and of course, rig the media to keep the masses ignorant.

    Today we have got to see another trick from their playbook, parading ignorant celebrities like Derek Jeter in front of us from the World Economic Forum their guest, so they can muster support for their turbines and endear themselves to taxpayers.

    Folks, this is what is going on. It is 100% complete insanity. It is even more insane that anyone would ever BELIEVE A WORD from these people.

    If readers remember nothing else, never forget this……. Climate change will never be solved with millions of wind turbines slaughtering off bird species and by robbing taxpayers, but it can be solved with ecosystem management.

  12. Comment by Ella on 03/26/2013 at 9:29 am

    Need some cash, anyone? (Sarcasm!)

    In Gilford Township, Michigan, 75 newly installed turbines that went on line in December 2012 are looking to rent 5 acres to bury birds.

    They are trying to install 3000 IWT in the Thumb of Michigan, which is rated as the 3rd best agricultural soil on this planet.

    “Please Lord Jesus, help us all!”

    Why do these farmers not realize their soil is Black Gold, the Saudi Arabia of soils on the planet?

    I can only pray someone will read this. I can only pray someone will document the slaughter in Gilford. I can only pray this madness stops.

  13. Comment by Jennifer Stonecipher on 03/28/2013 at 9:32 am

    Our culture is willing to allow big corporations to brainwash us, kill our neighboring species and traumatize our fellow man, as long as we are given something shiny to pre-occupy ourselves with while Big Corp does so.

    We are like children. Our parents are busy talking business in the kitchen while we are told to “go play,” except in this case, the parents do not have our best interest at heart, only their wallets and bank accounts.

    We are only the pawns, and as long as we are kept pre-occupied with our gadgets, toys, superficialness, and false sense of importance learned from watching the POP culture, we will remain disinterested in seeking solutions to protect our and our fellow species’ futures.

    We have sold our future to big corporations for a few shiny trinkets…

    How can WE turn this around now, and take back God’s earth for the benefit of the majority, not allowing its exploitation any longer, so the minority rich can become richer?

  14. Comment by Gitte Hansen on 03/29/2014 at 3:55 pm

    I’m sad. Embarrassed that our country gave birth to wind turbine producer and scam master, Vestas.

    Love to u all,

    Marie, Denmark

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