Trump is ranting again about wind turbines killing bald eagles – here’s why he’s wrong

Conrad Duncan@theconradduncan
Wednesday 15 May 2019 12:15
news

Donald Trump’s war on wind power is one of the strangest features of his presidency.

Indy100 covered his misunderstanding earlier today that wind turbines don’t work when it’s not windy and his staggering suggestion that the noise from windmills causes cancer

But let’s take a closer look at another one of his claims – that you can see dead bald eagles “all over the place” killed by turbines.

He said:

You want to see a bird cemetery? Go under a windmill sometime.

You will see the saddest, you got every type of bird. You know, in California you go to jail for five years if you kill a bald eagle. You go under a windmill, you see them all over the place. Not a good situation.

So, is Trump right? Are wind turbines slaughtering bald eagles across the US?

Unsurprisingly, the answer is no.

Trump has previously claimed that windmills are “killing hundreds and hundreds of eagles”, but ornithologist (bird expert) Shawn Smallwood told Politifact last year that only around 100 eagles die each year due to hitting the blades from windmills.

That means Trump is exaggerating a lot by claiming you can see dead bald eagles “all over the place”.

Wind turbines have also become much safer in recent years as operators slow the turbines during migration periods for the eagles.

Journalist Kurt Eichenwald explained:

So where did Trump’s bald eagle conspiracy come from?

Jonathan Weisman wondered if it came from old reports about golden eagle deaths in the 90s.

Trump's mind definitely seems to be fixed on this issue, as he's been pushing dead eagle stories long before he became president.

Here he is tweeting about it in 2012:

And again in 2014:

He has also quoted a few news source, like the New York Times story below – but these only refer to tens of eagle deaths, not hundreds or thousands.

So who knows where Trump has got his latest exaggeration from…

You would think he wouldn’t be too fussed about eagle deaths though, considering the birds don’t seem to like him very much.

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Although wind farms do kill some birds (approximately 20,000 a year, according to a 2009 study), they kill significantly fewer birds than nuclear plants (approx. 330,000 deaths) and fossil fuel power plants (more than 14 million deaths).

More: Trump praised Hungary's far-right prime minister and claimed he is 'respected all over Europe'

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