HOUSTON — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told thousands of mostly oil and natural gas executives at an energy conference here Tuesday that wind turbines kill as many as 750,000 birds a year, repeating a criticism made by other Trump administration officials.
The fate of migratory birds that use the Eastern Shore, is a concern. Would a large wind farm create a danger for migratory bird species, as well as local species?
The chart below lists the major “human” causes of bird deaths. Zinke’s number of 750k is larger than most published estimates. As a note, cats are listed as due to their relationship with humans.
- “The amount of installed wind energy has increased quite a bit in the last five years since those papers were published, so the actual mortality would be expected to scale up somewhat as well,” said Scott Loss, a professor at Oklahoma State University who tracks these issues. “Regardless of the estimate, wind turbines rank much lower than many other human-caused threats in terms of total birds killed.”
An Interior Department spokeswoman said a recent United States Geological Survey published in peer-reviewed scientific journals estimated the number could be as high as 689,000 bird deaths a year caused by wind turbines, not including Alaska and Hawaii. Including all 50 states and taking into account the growth of the industry as well as increased blade size, “the number could very reasonably be about 750,000,” a spokeswoman said.