Hello, I read your recent article about the Whooping Crane population and I would like to share some additional insight with National Geographic.
As you well know, last year (2009) the Whooping Crane flock, lost 57 members. In Texas 23 were reported lost on their wintering grounds. Officially some of this decline is attributed to the South Texas drought that affected the birds’ food and water sources. I think there is much more to this story that needs to be told. At one time there were tens of thousands of these Whooping cranes that wintered in Texas. I know time has changed their habitat but a little flock of 270 should be able to find plenty food in Texas.
What is not disclosed in the article is the extreme danger propeller style wind turbines pose to the Whooping Cranes. Thousands of these wind turbines exist all along the whooping cranes 2500 mile migration route and a new wind farm has recently been constructed in Whooping Crane habitat south of their favorite wintering grounds at the Aransas wildlife refuge. It is my opinion that last year in their for search of food, some Whooping Cranes moved onto the Kenedy Ranch and some of them perished. In the 1930′s when the Whooping Cranes were near extinction they were still using the habitat on the Kenedy Ranch in the winter. Much of this ranch is still intact. While it is well known that these cranes like to eat the Blue Crabs that live in wetland areas of Texas, they also eat may other species including frogs, mice, snakes, fish and crawdads. It is documented that last year the shortage of crabs around Aransas did push the cranes to ponds and grain feeders away from the refuge. Some also could have easily made their south to the many ponds and wet lands on the Kenedy ranch. You can check out the turbines, the wetlands, and all the ponds by going to Google earth. I have enclosed several images for your convenience.
Despite knowing all this, no one in government will stand up and say a word. It is time to admit that the wind turbines are killing the Whooping Cranes. Instead there is only talk about the threat of collisions with transmission lines. Plain and simple, there is and has been, a long standing cover up concerning bird mortality and the propeller style wind turbine. It goes all the way back to Altamont Pass and extends all the way to Washington. I have talked with high level Government employees and I am well aware that one of the prerequisites of being such an employee requires them to “roll over” when asked to. If one does not want to play this game they are demoted or railroaded.
If one were to think about all this logically the truth becomes obvious. If you were a California Condor, a Golden Eagle or a Whooping Crane would you rather glide into a stationary and even flexible power line or be smashed with a several ton wind turbine blade moving at 220 mph? Transmission lines are not killing off the Red kite population in Europe. The prop turbine is. Power lines also haven’t killed the 2000-2500 Golden Eagles that have perished at Altamont Pass. The wind industry propaganda for all this is that house cats, cars, buildings and windows are a greater threat to Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, Whooping Cranes, and other rare birds. It is fraud and it is pure garbage. These turbines are a primary threat and killer to all birds.
Since the recent decline of the Whooping Crane population last year there is now radar being used at the wind farm that exists in Whooping Crane habitat on the Kenedy Ranch in Texas. If there was not an extreme danger posed by these wind turbines, this radar system would never be needed. If there was not an extreme danger then there would not be great anxiety and phone calls to Tom Stehn or other biologists when these cranes are seen near a wind farm. There would also be no need for wind farms to have emergency plans to shut off the turbines in the hope of avoiding a fatal collision.
I know how this industry works. These guys would never say a word about killing an endangered species and I think there needs to be an investigation by a credible party. Since the gulf oil spill, everyone has been made aware of the cozy relationship between BP and the MMS. Well there is also a corrupt relationship between the wind industry and U.S. Fish and wildlife Service that needs to be looked at.
As it now stands, with the invasion of thousands of propeller style wind turbines along their migration route, the future of the Whooping Crane looks very bleak. Captive breeding programs, to offset high turn over rates in the population, are not the answer. It is just a Band-Aid. The only long term solution for all this is for the wind industry to move on to the next generation of wind turbines. Wind turbines that will provide much more power and are also not lethal.