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Resource Documents: Wildlife (295 items)


Also see NWW "wildlife" FAQ

Unless indicated otherwise, documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are shared here to assist anyone wishing to research the issue of industrial wind power and the impacts of its development. The information should be evaluated by each reader to come to their own conclusions about the many areas of debate. • The copyrights reside with the sources indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations.

Date added:  October 24, 2022
Norway, WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Magnetic fields produced by subsea high-voltage direct current cables reduce swimming activity of haddock larvae (Melanogrammus aeglefinus)

Author:  Cresci, Alessandro; et al.

Abstract – High-voltage direct current (HVDC) subsea cables are used to transport power between locations and from/to nearshore and offshore facilities. HVDC cables produce magnetic fields (B-fields) that could impact marine fish. Atlantic haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) is a demersal fish that is at risk of exposure to anthropogenic B-fields. Their larvae drift over the continental shelf, and use the Earth’s magnetic field for orientation during dispersal. Therefore, anthropogenic magnetic fields from HVDC cables could alter their behavior. We tested the behavior of 92 haddock larvae using a setup designed to simulate the scenario of larvae drifting past a B-field in the intensity range of that produced by a DC subsea cable. We exposed the larvae to a B-field intensity ranging from 50  to 150 µT in a raceway tank. Exposure to the B-field did not affect the spatial distribution of haddock larvae in the raceway. Larvae were categorized by differences in their exploratory behavior in the raceway. The majority (78%) of larvae were nonexploratory, and exposure to the artificial B-field reduced their median swimming speed by 60% and decreased their median acceleration by 38%. There was no effect on swimming of the smaller proportion (22%) of exploratory larvae. These observations support the conclusion that the swimming performance of nonexploratory haddock larvae would be reduced following exposure to B-field from HVDC cables. The selective impact on nonexploratory individuals, and the lack of impact on exploratory individuals, could have population-scale implications for haddock in the wild.

Alessandro Cresci, Caroline M.F. Durif, Torkel Larsen, Reidun Bjelland, Anne Berit Skiftesvik, Howard I. Browman
Institute of Marine Research, Austevoll Research Station, Storebø, Norway

PNAS Nexus, Volume 1, Issue 4, September 2022, pgac175, doi:10.1093/pnasnexus/pgac175
Published: 27 August 2022

Download original document: “Magnetic fields produced by subsea high-voltage direct current cables reduce swimming activity of haddock larvae (Melanogrammus aeglefinus)

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Date added:  July 23, 2022
Germany, WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Activity of forest specialist bats decreases towards wind turbines at forest sites

Author:  Ellerbrok, Julia; Delius, Anna; Peter, Franziska; Farwig, Nina; and Voigt, Christian


Worldwide, wind turbines are increasingly being built at forest sites to meet the goals of national climate strategies. Yet, the impact on biodiversity is barely understood. Bats may be heavily affected by wind turbines in forests, because many species depend on forest ecosystems for roosting and hunting and can experience high fatality rates at wind turbines.

We performed acoustic surveys in 24 temperate forests in the low mountain ranges of Central Germany to monitor changes in the acoustic activity of bats in relation to wind turbine proximity, rotor size, vegetation structure and season. Call sequences were identified and assigned to one of three functional guilds: open-space, edge-space and narrow-space foragers, the latter being mainly forest specialists.

Based on the response behaviour of bats towards wind turbines in open landscapes, we predicted decreasing bat activity towards wind turbines at forest sites, especially for narrow-space foragers.

Vertical vegetation heterogeneity had a strong positive effect on all bats, yet responses to wind turbines in forests varied across foraging guilds. Activity of narrow-space foragers decreased towards turbines over distances of several hundred metres, especially towards turbines with large rotors and during mid-summer months. The activity of edge-space foragers did not change with distance to turbines or season, whereas the activity of open-space foragers increased close to turbines in late summer.

Synthesis and applications. Forest specialist bats avoid wind turbines in forests over distances of several hundred metres. This avoidance was most apparent towards turbines with large rotors. Since forests are an important habitat for these bats, we advise to exclude forests with diverse vegetation structure as potential wind turbine sites and to consider compensation measures to account for habitat degradation associated with the operation of wind turbines in forests.

Julia S. Ellerbrok, Conservation Ecology, Department of Biology, University of Marburg, and Evolutionary Ecology, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin, Germany

Anna Delius, Conservation Ecology, Department of Biology, University of Marburg, Germany

Franziska Peter, Natural Resource Conservation, University Kiel, Germany

Nina Farwig, Conservation Ecology, Department of Biology, University of Marburg, Germany

Christian C. Voigt, Evolutionary Ecology, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin, Germany

Journal of Applied Biology: 09 July 2022, doi:10.1111/1365-2664.14249

Download original document: “Activity of forest specialist bats decreases towards wind turbines at forest sites

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Date added:  June 5, 2022
Illinois, WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Curtailment and acoustic deterrents reduce bat mortality at wind farms

Author:  Good, Rhett; et al.

Abstract – The impacts of wind energy on bat populations is a growing concern because wind turbine blades can strike and kill bats, and wind turbine development is increasing. We tested the effectiveness of 2 management actions at 2 wind-energy facilities for reducing bat fatalities: curtailing turbine operation when wind speeds were <5.0 m/second and combining curtailment with an acoustic bat deterrent developed by NRG Systems. We measured the effectiveness of the management actions using differences in counts of bat carcasses quantified by daily and twice-per-week standardized carcass searches of cleared plots below turbines, and field trials that estimated searcher efficiency and carcass persistence. We studied turbines located at 2 adjacent wind-energy facilities in northeast Illinois, USA, during fall migration (1 Aug–15 Oct) in 2018. We estimated the effectiveness of each management action using a generalized linear mixed-effects model with several covariates. Curtailment alone reduced overall bat mortality by 42.5% but did not reduce silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans) mortality. Overall bat fatality rates were 66.9% lower at curtailed turbines with acoustic deterrents compared to turbines that operated at manufacturer cut-in speed. Curtailment and the deterrent reduced bat mortality to varying degrees between species, ranging from 58.1% for eastern red bats (Lasiurus borealis) to 94.4 for big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus). Hoary (Lasiurus cinereus) and silver-haired bat mortality was reduced by 71.4% and 71.6%, respectively. Our study lacked a deterrent-only treatment group because of the expense of acoustic deterrents. We estimated the additional reduction in mortality with concurrent deployment of the acoustic deterrent and curtailment under the assumption that curtailment and the acoustic deterrent would have reduced mortality by the same percentage at adjacent wind-energy facilities. Acoustic deterrents resulted in 31.6%, 17.4%, and 66.7% additional reductions of bat mortality compared to curtailment alone for eastern red bat, hoary bat, and silver-haired bat, respectively. The effectiveness of acoustic deterrents for reducing bat mortality at turbines with rotor-swept area diameters >110 m is unknown because high frequency sound attenuates quickly, which reduces coverage of rotor-swept areas. Management actions should consider species differences in the ability of curtailment and deterrents to reduce bat mortality and increase energy production.

Rhett E. Good, Goniela Iskali, John Lombardi, Trent McDonald, Karl Dubridge, Andrew Tredennick, Western EcoSystems Technology
Michael Azeka, EDF Renewables

The Journal of Wildlife Management, 08 May 2022, doi:10.1002/jwmg.22244

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Date added:  June 5, 2022
Europe, Germany, Law, WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Wind turbines without curtailment produce large numbers of bat fatalities throughout their lifetime: A call against ignorance and neglect

Author:  Voight, Christian, et al.

Abstract – Bats are protected by national and international legislation in European countries, yet many species, particularly migratory aerial insectivores, collide with wind turbines which counteracts conservation efforts. Within the European Union it is legally required to curtail the operation of wind turbines at periods of high bat activity, yet this is not practiced at old wind turbines. Based on data from the national carcass repository in Germany and from our own carcass searches at a wind park with three turbines west of Berlin, we evaluated the magnitude of bat casualties at old, potentially poor-sited wind turbines operating without curtailment. We report 88 documented bat carcasses collected by various searchers over the 20-year operation period of this wind park from 2001 to 2021. Common noctule bats (Nyctalus noctula) and common pipistrelles (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) were most often found dead at these turbines. Our search campaign in August and September 2021 yielded a total of 18 carcasses. We estimated that at least 209 bats were likely killed during our field survey, yielding more than 70 casualties/wind turbine or 39 casualties/MW in two months. Since our campaign covered only part of the migration season, we consider this value as an underestimate. The 20-year period of the wind park emphasises the substantial impact old turbines may have on bat individuals and populations when operating without curtailments. We call for reconsidering the operation procedures of old wind turbines to stop the continuous loss of bats in Germany and other countries where turbine curtailments are even less practiced than in Germany.

Christian C. Voigt, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin, Germany
Klara Kaiser, Samantha Look, Freie Universitäat Berlin, Germany
Kristin Scharnweber, Carolin Scholz, Universität Potsdam, Germany

Global Ecology and Conservation, Volume 37, September 2022, e02149

Download original document: “Wind turbines without curtailment produce large numbers of bat fatalities throughout their lifetime: A call against ignorance and neglect

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