Denver Eagle Repository Facts Repository eagles are killed in places where they are likely to be noticed by a person, that being, on roads, under power lines or at a wind farm.
For Native Americans, the most important part of an eagle, is having the entire carcass in good condition. But receiving a whole golden eagle carcass in good condition from the Denver Repository can take 5 years, This wait will continue to grow as their populations continue to decline in the West.
The easiest way for a person to notice a dead eagle is it has been killed on a road. But road kills for eagles are rare. Dead eagles found around power lines are spotted with irregularity and can lie on the ground for months rotting and commonly scavenged upon. Many have these power line eagles been electrocuted, making their condition marginal for recycling to the Native Americans. Whole eagle carcasses found in acceptable condition and suitable for Indian burials, rarely come from power line fatalities.
In the 1970’s the USFWS Eagle Repository, was located in Idaho where they were receiving 50-100 eagles a year, with most of them being golden eagles. Back then, the golden eagle population in the West, was 4-5 times what it is today.
By the 1990’s, this Eagle Repository was receiving approximately 600-800 carcasses annually with the majority of these eagle carcasses, being shipped from CA. It was also a time when most of America’s wind turbines, were also installed in CA.
Since the early 1980’s, wind farms across America have supplied the largest number of eagle carcasses for the eagle repository. Over the last 4 1/2 decades, the intake of eagle carcasses has escalated. In an effort to keep up with this growing supply, the Eagle Repository was moved to a much larger facility in Denver in 1997. Today the Denver Eagle Repository processes 40-50 times the eagle carcasses it did in the 1970’s.
Wind farms located in eagle habitat always kill eagles and these wind farms have freezers used for the preservation of eagle carcasses. One of the responsibilities of wind farm personnel when in the field is to scan for carcasses. If an eagle is found, a supervisor is notified. USFWS agents periodically pick up most of these carcasses and have them shipped to the Denver Eagle Repository.
This eagle mortality quote from 2001 made by The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is very telling……………“The repository does not record the State of origin of carcasses received (D. Wiist, pers. comm.). If criminal activity is suspected (e.g.,gunshot, pesticide mis-use), carcasses may be sent to the USFWS forensics lab in Ashland, Oregon. Eagle carcasses with unknown cause of death are often sent to the National Wildlife Health Lab, in Madison, WI. A report based on 1,429 carcasses received between 1963 and 1984 indicated that gunshot (23%), trauma (21.1%), poisoning (11.1%), and electrocution (9.1%) were the most prevalent causes of death (National Wildlife Health Laboratory 1985).”
Here is what this quote really is as saying. For decades and from the time wind turbines began slaughtering eagles in CA, the eagle Repository has not released the cause of death for their eagle carcasses. If they had, the repository would have confirmed the devastating eagle mortality being caused by wind turbines, The Repository also no longer releases information for the cause of death for any of the eagle carcasses they receive because if they did, death by gunshots, poisoning and electrocutions would not even account for a third of annual intake of eagle carcasses. Also notice this important number………..The total number of eagle carcasses for the 20 year period (1963 -1984) only averaged 71 a year.
Today the Denver Eagle Repository receives over twice the number of eagle carcasses in one year, than they did during this entire 20 year period. If the Repository ever produced the causes of death for the eagles they have received since 1997, the most prevalent causes of death would likely show gunshot (8%), trauma (80%), poisoning (4%), electrocution (3%) and other (5%) because Repository eagles are killed in places where they are likely to be noticed by a person.
I have collected the reported Denver Eagle repository records for most years since 1997. These records are from published studies, Federal court cases, USFWS publications, and a Senate Report. It is important to notice the how America’s eagle carcass numbers and orders filled for Native Americans, has escalated right along with the development of wind energy outside CA.
1997- The National Eagle Repository filled 984 requests for whole eagles for Native
Americans and 229 for eagle parts, for a total of 1244 requests filled.
1999 - Orders for whole eagle carcasses and eagle parts totaled 1260. Of the requests filled, 788 were bald eagles and and 472 golden eagles
2000- the national Eagle repository sent the largest number of whole eagles to Native Americans since it first started operating. Items distributed included 1063 whole eagles and 425 eagle parts or loose feathers. The repository also received 149 eagle parts with 122 coming from bald eagles and 27 from golden eagles. The average order of loose feathers order increased from 15 to 21 per month.
2001- The repository received 1298 whole eagles 794 and 504 golden eagles as well as 176 eagle parts. With these eagles orders were filled for 1019 whole eagles and 372 eagle feather/parts.
2002 - The Repository received 1,583 eagles and eagle parts from the field during FY 2002. This total included 1,021 bald eagles and 562 golden eagles. Repository staff filled 1,549 requests from Native Americans seeking eagles and eagle parts for religious use; 1,095 whole eagles were distributed while 454 requests were filled with loose feathers or other eagle parts.
2003 - The National Eagle Repository filled 1,699 orders from Native Americans for eagles and eagle parts for religious use; 1,175 of these orders were for whole bird carcasses.
2004 - The National Eagle Repository filled 1,851 requests from Native Americans for eagles and eagle parts for religious use – a record number.
From 2005-2016 the information reported about the Denver Eagle Repository is much more fragmented. But one thing is very clear. Carcasses being received and shipments of body parts received by the Repository have exploded risen sharply up to 5009 in 2016. The majority of these eagle shipments are bald eagles.
But there is also something else more sinister that has taken place. Of the eagles being sent into the repository, more of them are now coming in much more mutilated. This is what a wind turbine blade does to an eagle, especially with the industry’s massive new turbines. A direct hit from one of these turbines with their much faster blade tip speeds, will cause an eagle to explode into pieces. The eagle in the image below was not hit by a meteor, a stray artillery shell or a sudden change in climate. It was killed by a modern wind turbine. The man that witnessed it, then searched the area and collected all the pieces for this image. The torso, he had to knock down from the branches of a tree. In 1997 when California’s turbines were small and damage to eagle carcasses was less severe, 79% of Repository orders filled were for whole eagles. In the years 1997-2016 orders filled for eagle parts and feathers jumped by more than 11 times from 229- 2600.
2005 - The National Eagle Repository filled 1,805 requests from Native Americans for eagles and eagle parts for religious use.
2006 - The National Eagle Repository filled 2,237 requests from Native Americans for eagles and eagle parts for religious use.
2007- The National Eagle Repository filled 2,369 requests from Native Americans for eagles and eagle parts for religious use.
2008 - The National Eagle Repository filled 2,714 requests from Native Americans for eagles and eagle parts for religious use.
2009 - The National Eagle Repository filled 3,270 requests from Native Americans for eagles and eagle parts for religious use.
2010 – No official repository data found, but quotes in articles from Repository employees were reporting over 2000 eagle carcasses are being received annually by the Repository.
2011- No official repository data found, but quotes in articles from Repository employees were reporting over 2000 eagle carcasses are being received annually by the Repository.
2012 - No official repository data found, but quotes in articles from Repository employees were reporting that over 2000 eagle carcasses are being received annually by the Repository.
2014 - Whole and eagle parts received reported to be 2309. Other data was eliminated because I had made public the changing carcasses numbers in the regions of wind energy development.
2015 - The Eagle Repository was very active receiving and filling requests for bald and golden eagles and their parts. In 2015, 3,678 orders were filled and 4,155 new requests were received.
2016 - The Eagle Repository received a total of 2,736 whole eagles and eagle parts; 2,273
were bald eagles and 463 were golden eagles. A total of 3,957 orders were filled – 2,600 for eagle feathers and eagle parts and 1,357 for whole eagle orders.
Until yesterday I had not reviewed these Repository statistics for several years. But for everyone looking at them, it should be easy to see, by adding a conservative estimate of 2700 dead eagles for 2017, the Denver Repository has processed the remains from over 40,000 dead eagles since 1997.
Remember these are 40,000 plus eagle carcasses for which no cause of death or origin has been given by Interior department. My estimate for the origin of these eagles is that at least 50% of these eagles are wind turbine related and 66% is probably more accurate. Lastly keep in mind that wind farms do not find or even report all eagle fatalities. I know this from my interview with an employed Wind Tech.