This article discusses wind farms and birds, and how they can, and do, live together.
President Donald trump recently criticized “windmills” as a source of energy, claiming, “They kill so many birds. You look underneath some of those windmills, it’s like a killing field.” All this while he attempts to prop up a fading coal industry that is responsible for killing 24 times as many birds as wind energy.
But do wind turbines really “kill so many birds”? It is one of the most commonly repeated criticisms of wind power – that they are giant Cuisinarts for birds.
Last winter, Trump’s Interior Department secretary, Ryan Zinke, told an oil and gas industry audience that wind farms kill 750,000 birds a year. Yet his own Fish and Wildlife Service put the estimate at fewer than half that number. Meanwhile, Zinke is doing away with century-old protections under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Estimated bird deaths from wind turbines are small when compared to other human-caused sources of avian mortality. In contrast to the 5 billion birds killed annually as a result of encounters with a variety of hazards, ranging from domestic cats to building glass, turbines are a much smaller risk.
The greatest threat to birds today is climate change.