Trump Tilts at “Windmills”

August 14, 2018

The President inexplicably rants about terrorists shooting at wind turbines – then parrots standard wind-bagger lines about bird kills, “what happens when the wind stops” etc…


One figure that was published a while back may have exaggerated the number of annual bird deaths due to wind power. It was a range that reached 573,000 at the top. However, that figure was called into doubt by a subsequent study, which pointed out that there are fewer deaths now, as technology has evolved. “Prior studies estimate between 10,000 and 573,000 fatal bird collisions with US wind turbines annually; however, these studies do not differentiate between turbines with a monopole tower and those with a lattice tower, the former of which now comprise the vast majority of all US wind turbines and the latter of which are largely being de-commissioned.”

The same researchers concluded that a more accurate estimated range was 140,000 to 328,000 deaths per year due to wind power tower and turbine collisions. Of course these deaths are regrettable, and in an ideal world they would not happen, but again, to continue to round out the full context of annual bird deaths, we need have some perspective.

Back to other sources of bird deaths, in addition to deaths caused by domestic cats, collisions with glass in buildings is a top cause. “Bird mortality from window collisions in the US is estimated to be between 365 million to 988 million birds annually.” If we compare the top end of the researchers’ estimate for wind power bird deaths, which is 328,000 per year, with the peak from the Fish and Wildlife Service for building collisions, which is 988 million, we see that building collisions result in well over 2,000 times more bird deaths.

Vehicle collisions are also one of the top causes of bird mortality. A recent study estimated that between 89 million and 340 million birds die annually in vehicle collisions on US roads. Again, if we take the top figure for each type of bird death, we see that vehicle collisions caused several hundred times more deaths. Poisoning also kills about 72 million.

Collisions with utility lines are another top cause of deaths. “It is currently estimated that between 8 million and 57 million birds are killed in the United States annually from collisions with electric utility lines,” US Fish & Wildlife Services (FWS) states.

Oil pits kill about 500,000 to 1 million US birds per year, according to the FWS. “An estimated 500,000 to 1 million birds are killed annually in oil pits and evaporation ponds. In one study, 51 % of all birds found at oil and gas facilities were in heater-treaters, 30% in various pits, 4% in wastewater ponds, 4% tanks and trays, and 1% spills.”

The number of birds lost each year to wind turbine collisions is tiny, but what is a major cause of death for the portion that are migratory? If you are aware of bird conservation issues, you probably know what it is: habitat loss. “Loss, degradation and fragmentation of important migratory bird habitat have been identified as potentially the largest individual threat to migratory birds.”

Habitat degradation is linked to climate change, which has already had a negative impact on many species, including many species of birds. “Using this model, we estimated that 47 per cent of terrestrial [non-flying] threatened mammals (out of 873 species) and 23.4 percent of threatened birds (out of 1,272 species) may have already been negatively impacted by climate change in at least part of their distribution.”

Obviously, clean, renewable energy is part of the solution for combating climate change and therefore is reducing its impacts. Thus, its overall effect is positive for animals and birds.

In a single year, US hunters killed about 19 million geese and ducks.

Wind power critics who point to the relatively tiny number of bird deaths caused by turbines and towers and fail to mention the true top causes of bird deaths are deliberately being disingenuous. They don’t know the facts or are omitting them to try to dismiss wind power even though it’s better for birds than fossil fuels and nuclear.


13 Responses to “Trump Tilts at “Windmills””

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    I will state the one-word thought that pops into my head several times each day when I read about Trump’s BS or see it on TV or the web. ASSHOLE!

    Of course, that word had been accompanied by a nearly endless string of modifiers since 2016—-flaming, ignorant, stupid, moronic, mentally deficient, sick, evil, treasonous, disloyal, perverted, disgusting, embarrassing, and so on. Now all those things have faded a bit and are more implied than stated with use of the one word—saves thinking time.

    (And I am constantly amazed that this (all of the above modifiers) ASSHOLE is the POTUS and actually gets cheers when he spouts this BS—-PLEASE let the mid-terms be such a blue wave that Trump gets flushed down the toilet where he belongs).

  2. grindupbaker Says:

    A Don Quixote type searching for damsels in distress if ever I saw one.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      And when he finds them, he grabs them by the P***Y and then demands that they sign a non-disclosure agreement.

  3. redbbs Says:

    Trump famously got into a fight with Scottish authorities re off-shore turbines near one of his golf courses when the government approved the construction of the wind farm in 2013.

    Trump filed a lawsuit and vowed to “spend whatever monies are necessary to see to it that these huge and unsightly industrial wind turbines are never constructed.” Trump’s case suffered a series of defeats, with the final blow in the UK’s supreme court in 2015.

    Then there’s Stephen Cooper’s famous and flawed paper on subsonic noise from wind turbines. It has sadly affected his standing and his acoustics business. He was Pre-eminant in the field in NSW State and widely respected throughout Australia.

    I engaged his services as a professional witness in an an action against a noisy cafe opposite my house in Sydney. Stephen was brilliant and I like him dearly and I am very saddened by his fall from grace. He had a roaring practice in as an expert in the NSW Land and Environment Court but that moronic paper has put an end to that.

  4. ubrew12 Says:

    “President Trump’s Interior Department has announced that it will no longer enforce prohibitions on “incidental takes” — the unintended, though still perhaps foreseen, killing of birds, as in open waste pits, uncovered oil spills, lit communication towers and low-visibility power lines.”

    Is Trump just unaware that we can see what his right hand is doing as he’s trying to distract us with his left hand? The only bird he cares about is the one he throws with his middle finger. Power lines = 2nd most deadly human-related cause of bird deaths, after cats. Communication towers (along with other buildings) = 3rd most deadly. Wind towers = not even on the list, its in the noise.

  5. mbrysonb Says:

    Somehow I’m reminded of ancient fear-mongering about seat belts– “just imagine if you’re stuck in the car while it sinks into a lake or river, because you can’t release your seat belt…” Pick a rare / low-level risk and scare people with it, while ignoring the elephant(s) in the room.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Like vaccines? (which will cause your rear end to fall off)

      Or GMO? (which will turn you into a plant of you eat them)

      Or nuclear power plants? (which will make you glow in the dark)

      The fear-mongering will succeed as long as there are ignorant and uneducated people who rely on beliefs and feelings more than facts.

  6. Dave Jewett Says:

    I’m reminded of this idiocy:

    “Wind energy is a finite resource. At large scale, slowing down the wind by using its energy to turn turbines has environmental consequences.”
    ~~Rep Joe Barton

    • Sir Charles Says:

      Coal Lobby Warns Wind Farms May Blow Earth Off Orbit

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      Joe “petro-whore” Barton: “Wind energy…has environmental consequences.”

      Some denialists claim it’s hubris of people who think we mere humans can cause significant damage to the planet, and others warn of renewable energy causing damage to the planet. **sigh**

  7. Sir Charles Says:

    Trump Administration Admits 1,400+ More People Will Die Each Year Following Coal Plant Deregulation

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: