Resource Documents: Wildlife (283 items)
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Responses of dispersing GPS-tagged Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) to multiple wind farms across Scotland
Abstract: Wind farms may have two broad potential adverse effects on birds via antagonistic processes: displacement from the vicinity of turbines (avoidance), or death through collision with rotating turbine blades. Large raptors are often shown or presumed to be vulnerable to collision and are demographically sensitive to additional mortality, as exemplified by several studies of the Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos. Previous findings from Scottish Eagles, however, have suggested avoidance as the primary response. Our study used data from 59 GPS-tagged Golden Eagles with 28 284 records during natal dispersal before and after turbine operation &ly; 1 km of 569 turbines at 80 wind farms across Scotland. We tested three hypotheses using measurements of tag records’ distance from the hub of turbine locations: (1) avoidance should be evident; (2) older birds should show less avoidance (i.e. habituate to turbines); and (3) rotor diameter should have no influence (smaller diameters are correlated with a turbine’s age, in examining possible habituation). Four generalized linear mixed models (GLMMs) were constructed with intrinsic habitat preference of a turbine location using Golden Eagle Topography (GET) model, turbine operation status (before/after), bird age and rotor diameter as fixed factors. The best GLMM was subsequently verified by k-fold cross-validation and involved only GET habitat preference and presence of an operational turbine. Eagles were eight times less likely to be within a rotor diameter’s distance of a hub location after turbine operation, and modelled displacement distance was 70 m. Our first hypothesis expecting avoidance was supported. Eagles were closer to turbine locations in preferred habitat but at greater distances after turbine operation. Results on bird age (no influence to 5+ years) rejected hypothesis 2, implying no habituation. Support for hypothesis 3 (no influence of rotor diameter) also tentatively inferred no habituation, but data indicated birds went slightly closer to longer rotor blades although not to the turbine tower. We proffer that understanding why avoidance or collision in large raptors may occur can be conceptually envisaged via variation in fear of humans as the ‘super predator’ with turbines as cues to this life-threatening agent.
Alan H. Fielding, Natural Research Ltd, Brathens, Aberdeenshire
David Anderson, Forestry and Land Scotland, Aberfoyle
Stuart Benn, RSPB Scotland, Inverness
Roy Dennis, Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, Forres
Matthew Geary, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Chester
Ewan Weston, Natural Research Ltd, Brathens, Aberdeenshire
D. Philip Whitfield, Natural Research Ltd, Brathens, Aberdeenshire
Ibis: International Journal of Avian Science
Published on line ahead of print 20 July 2021. doi: 10.1111/ibi.12996
Author: Friends of the Columbia Gorge; Oregon Wild; and Central Oregon Landwatch
If constructed and operated, the Facility would result in adverse impacts to wildlife species, including bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) and golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos). In 2009 and/or 2010, raptor surveys detected numerous bald and golden eagles and nest sites within 1,000 to 10,000 feet of proposed wind turbine locations. …
This appeal challenges three agency Orders issued by ODOE [Oregon Department of Energy], on August 10, 2020; August 21, 2020; and September 10, 2020. …
In issuing the three challenged Orders, ODOE acted in violation of the Oregon Administrative Procedures Act and the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Act by erroneously interpreting one or more provisions of law; acting outside the range of discretion delegated to the agency by law; acting inconsistent with one or more agency rules, officially stated agency positions, and/or prior agency practices without explaining the inconsistencies; acting in violation of a statutory provision; and/or issuing agency orders not supported by substantial evidence in one or more of the following ways: [50(a)–(v)].
Pursuant to ORS 469.563, Petitioners request that this Court issue such restraining orders and/or such temporary and permanent injunctive relief as is necessary to secure compliance with applicable provisions of the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Act and its implementing regulations and/or with the terms and conditions of a site certificate.
Download original document: “Amended Petition for Judicial Review, Summit Ridge Wind Farm”
Author: Goldenberg, Shifra; Cryan, Paul; Gorresen, Paulo; and Fingersh, Lee
Abstract: Bat fatalities at wind energy facilities in North America are predominantly comprised of migratory, tree‐dependent species, but it is unclear why these bats are at higher risk. Factors influencing bat susceptibility to wind turbines might be revealed by temporal patterns in their behaviors around these dynamic landscape structures. In northern temperate zones, fatalities occur mostly from July through October, but whether this reflects seasonally variable behaviors, passage of migrants, or some combination of factors remains unknown. In this study, we examined video imagery spanning one year in the state of Colorado in the United States, to characterize patterns of seasonal and nightly variability in bat behavior at a wind turbine. We detected bats on 177 of 306 nights representing approximately 3,800 hr of video and > 2,000 discrete bat events. We observed bats approaching the turbine throughout the night across all months during which bats were observed. Two distinct seasonal peaks of bat activity occurred in July and September, representing 30% and 42% increases in discrete bat events from the preceding months June and August, respectively. Bats exhibited behaviors around the turbine that increased in both diversity and duration in July and September. The peaks in bat events were reflected in chasing and turbine approach behaviors. Many of the bat events involved multiple approaches to the turbine, including when bats were displaced through the air by moving blades. The seasonal and nightly patterns we observed were consistent with the possibility that wind turbines invoke investigative behaviors in bats in late summer and autumn coincident with migration and that bats may return and fly close to wind turbines even after experiencing potentially disruptive stimuli like moving blades. Our results point to the need for a deeper understanding of the seasonality, drivers, and characteristics of bat movement across spatial scales.
Shifra Z. Goldenberg, Conservation Ecology Center, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Front Royal, VA; Institute for Conservation Research, San Diego Zoo Global, Escondido, CA
Paul M. Cryan, US Geological Survey (USGS), Fort Collins, CO
Paulo Marcos Gorresen, University of Hawaii at Hilo, HI; US Geological Survey Pacific Island Ecosystems Science Center, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Lee Jay Fingersh, US Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, National Wind Technology Center, Boulder, CO
Ecology and Evolution, 18 March 2021
Download original document: “Behavioral patterns of bats at a wind turbine confirm seasonality of fatality risk”
Relative energy production determines effect of repowering on wildlife mortality at wind energy facilities
1. Reduction in wildlife mortality is often cited as a potential advantage to repowering wind facilities, that is, replacing smaller, lower capacity, closely spaced turbines, with larger, higher capacity ones, more widely spaced. Wildlife mortality rates, however, are affected by more than just size and spacing of turbines, varying with turbine operation, seasonal and daily weather and habitat, all of which can confound our ability to accurately measure the effect of repowering on wildlife mortality rates.
2. We investigated the effect of repowering on wildlife mortality rates in a study conducted near Palm Springs, CA. We controlled for confounding effects of weather and habitat by measuring turbine-caused wildlife mortality rates over a range of turbine sizes and spacing, all within the same time period, habitat and local weather conditions. We controlled for differences in turbine operation by standardizing mortality rate per unit energy produced.
3. We found that avian and bat mortality rate was constant per unit of energy produced, across all sizes and spacings of turbines.
4. Synthesis and applications. In the context of repowering a wind facility, our results suggest that the relative amount of energy produced, rather than simply the size, spacing or nameplate capacity of the replacement turbines, determines the relative rate of mortality prior to and after repowering. Consequently, in a given location, newer turbines would be expected to be less harmful to wildlife only if they produced less energy than the older models they replace. The implications are far-reaching as 18% of US and 8% of world-wide wind power capacity will likely be considered for repowering within ~5 years.
Manuela Huso, Daniel Dalthorp, U.S. Geological Survey, Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, Corvallis, Oregon
Tara Conkling, Todd Katzner, U.S. Geological Survey, Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, Boise, Idaho
Heath Smith, Rogue Detection Teams, Rice, Washington
Amy Fesnock, Bureau of Land Management, California State Office, Sacramento, California
Journal of Applied Ecology. First published: 31 March 2021
Download original document: “Relative energy production determines effect of repowering on wildlife mortality at wind energy facilities”