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March 26, 2012

Overstating Their Case on Bird Mortality


The U.S. Department of the Interior last week rejected a petition filed on behalf of the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) to establish a mandatory permitting system for wind farm projects. Collisions, whether involving wind turbines, buildings or glass, are among the leading causes of bird mortality and far exceed incidences of lead ingestion from traditional ammunition (ammunition containing lead components), which at 0.7 percent barely registers, as the chart below illustrates.

If hunters’ use of traditional ammunition was adversely impacting bird populations, raptor and bald eagle numbers wouldn’t be soaring, as they have been.

We wonder if ABC overstated its case here on wind turbines just as it did when it joined with the Center for Biological Diversity in petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency to ban traditional ammunition and lead fishing tackle. That petition was rejected, too. A ban on traditional ammunition is unwarranted for several reasons: use of traditional ammunition does not cause a human health risk nor negatively impacts bird populations; at the same time, a ban would result in increased ammunition costs, reducing hunter numbers and also funding for conservation.

Read more about the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s position on traditional ammunition.