Resource Documents: Wildlife (217 items)
Documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are provided 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.
Home Range and Resource Selection by GPS-Monitored Adult Golden Eagles in the Columbia Plateau Ecoregion: Implications for Wind Power Development
Author: Watson, James; Duff, Andrew; and Davies, Robert
ABSTRACT: Recent national interest in golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) conservation and wind energy development prompted us to investigate golden eagle home range and resource use in the Columbia Plateau Ecoregion (CPE) in Washington and Oregon. From 2004 to 2013, we deployed satellite transmitters on adult eagles (n = 17) and monitored their movements for up to 7 years. We used the Brownian bridge movement model (BBMM) to estimate range characteristics from global position system (GPS) fixes and flight paths of 10 eagles, and modeled resource selection probability functions (RSPFs). Multi-year home ranges of resident eagles were large (99% volume contour; x̄ = 245:7 km², SD = 370.2 km²) but were onethird the size (x̄ = 82:3 km², SD = 94.6 km²) and contained half as many contours when defined by 95% isopleths. Annual ranges accounted for 66% of multi-year range size. During the breeding season (16 Jan–15 Aug), eagles occupied ranges that were less fragmented, about half as large, and largely contained within ranges they used outside the breeding season (x̄ overlap = 82.5%, SD = 19.0). Eagles selected upper slopes, rugged terrain, and ridge tops that appear to reflect underlying influences of prey, deflective wind currents, and proximity to nests. Fix distribution predicted by our resource selection model and that of 4 eagles monitored independently in the CPE were highly correlated (rs = 0.992). Our findings suggest conservative landscape management strategies addressing development in lower-elevation montane and shrub-steppe/ grassland ecosystems can best define golden eagle ranges using exclusive 12.8-km buffers around nests. Less conservative strategies based on 9.6-km buffers must include identification and management of upper slopes, ridge-tops, and areas of varied terrain defined by predictive models or GPS telemetry. For both strategies, high, year-round intensity of eagle flight and perch use within 50% volume contours (average 3.2 km from nests) due to nest centricity may dramatically increase the probability of eagle conflict with wind turbines in core areas as evidenced by eagle turbine strikes that studies have documented within and beyond this zone.
JAMES W. WATSON, ANDREW A. DUFF, and ROBERT W. DAVIES
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, WA, USA
The Journal of Wildlife Management 78(6):1012–1021; 2014; DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.745
Topography drives migratory flight altitude of golden eagles: implications for on-shore wind energy development
Author: Katzner, Todd; Brandes, David; Miller, Tricia; et al.
1. Wind power is a fast-growing industry with broad potential to impact volant wildlife. Flight altitude is a key determinant of the risk to wildlife from modern horizontal-axis wind turbines, which typically have a rotor-swept zone of 50–150 m above the ground.
2. We used altitudinal GPS data collected from golden eagles Aquila chrysaetos tracked using satellite telemetry to evaluate the potential impacts of wind turbines on eagles and other raptors along migratory routes. Eagle movements during migration were classified as local (1–5 km h−1) or migratory (>10 km h−1) and were characterized based on the type of terrain over which each bird was flying, and the bird’s distance from wind resources preferred for energy development.
3. Birds engaged in local movements turned more frequently and flew at lower altitude than during active migration. This flight behaviour potentially exposes them to greater risk of collision with turbines than when engaged in longer-distance movements.
4. Eagles flew at relatively lower altitude over steep slopes and cliffs (sites where orographic lift can develop) than over flats and gentle slopes (sites where thermal lift is more likely).
5. Eagles predominantly flew near to wind resources preferred by energy developers, and locally moving eagles flew closer to those wind resources with greater frequency than eagles in active migration.
6. Synthesis and applications. Our research outlines the general effects of topography on raptor flight altitude and demonstrates how topography can interact with raptor migration behaviour to drive a potential human–wildlife conflict resulting from wind energy development. Management of risk to migratory species from industrial-scale wind turbines should consider the behavioural differences between both locally moving and actively migrating individuals. Additionally, risk assessment for wind energy–wildlife interactions should incorporate the consequences of topography on the flight altitude of potentially impacted wildlife.
Todd E. Katzner, David Brandes, Tricia Miller, Michael Lanzone, Charles Maisonneuve, Junior A. Tremblay, Robert Mulvihill, and George T. Merovich Jr
Division of Forestry and Natural Resources, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA; Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Acopian Engineering Center, Lafayette College, Easton, PA, USA; Cellular Tracking Technologies, Somerset, PA, USA; Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune, Rimouski and Quebec City, QC, Canada; and Field Research, National Aviary, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Journal of Applied Ecology 2012; doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2012.02185.x
Author: Hüppop, Ommo; et al.
Capsule: Collisions with offshore structures in the North Sea could account for the mortality of hundreds of thousands of nocturnally migrating birds.
Aims: To assess, for the first time, the circumstances of mass fatalities at an offshore structure, including the species involved, their numbers, ages, body conditions and injuries.
Methods: At an unmanned tall offshore research platform in the southeastern North Sea, bird corpses were collected on 160 visiting days from October 2003 to December 2007. Corpses were identified to species and kinds of injury, ages, and fat and muscle scores were determined. Nocturnal bird calls were recorded, identified to species and quantified. Local and large-scale weather parameters were also considered.
Results: A total of 767 birds of 34 species, mainly thrushes, European Starlings and other passerines, were found at 45 visits. Most carcasses were in good body condition and young birds were not more affected than adults. Three quarters of 563 examined individuals had collision induced injuries. Birds in poor body condition were less likely to be collision victims than those in good condition. Mass collision events at the illuminated offshore structure coincided with increasingly adverse weather conditions and an increasing call intensity of nocturnal birds.
Conclusions: Assuming an average of 150 dead birds per year at this single offshore structure and additionally assuming that a considerable proportion of the corpses were not found, we estimate that mortality at the 1000 + human structures in the North Sea could reach hundreds of thousands of birds. Since offshore industrialization will progress and collision numbers at offshore turbines will consequently increase considerably, we recommend reinforced measures to reduce bird strikes at offshore structures, especially in the light of substantial declines in some migrant species.
Ommo Hüppop, Kathrin Hüppop, Jochen Dierschke, Institute of Avian Research, Wilhelmshaven, Germany
Reinhold Hill, Avitec Research, Osterholz-Scharmbeck, Germany
Bird Study, 2016, volume 63, issue 1, pages 73-82
Author: Frick, Winifred; Baerwald, Erin; Pollock, Jacob; Barclay, Robert; Szymanski, Jennifer; et al.
Abstract: Large numbers of migratory bats are killed every year at wind energy facilities. However, population-level impacts are unknown as we lack basic demographic information about these species. We investigated whether fatalities at wind turbines could impact population viability of migratory bats, focusing on the hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus), the species most frequently killed by turbines in North America. Using expert elicitation and population projection models, we show that mortality from wind turbines may drastically reduce population size and increase the risk of extinction. For example, the hoary bat population could decline by as much as 90% in the next 50 years if the initial population size is near 2.5 million bats and annual population growth rate is similar to rates estimated for other bat species (λ = 1.01). Our results suggest that wind energy development may pose a substantial threat to migratory bats in North America. If viable populations are to be sustained, conservation measures to reduce mortality from turbine collisions likely need to be initiated soon. Our findings inform policy decisions regarding preventing or mitigating impacts of energy infrastructure development on wildlife.
W.F. Frick, E.F. Baerwald, J.F. Pollock, R.M.R. Barclay, J.A. Szymanski, T.J. Weller, A.L. Russell, S.C. Loeb, R.A. Medellin, L.P. McGuire
- Bat Conservation International, PO Box 162603, Austin, Texas (W.F.F.)
- Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Cal. (W.F.F., J.F.P.)
- Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta (E.F.B.)
- American Wind Wildlife Institute, Washington, DC (E.F.B., R.M.R.B.)
- United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Resource Center, Onalaska, Wis. (J.A.S.)
- United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Arcata, Cal. (T.J.W.)
- Department of Biology, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Mich. (A.L.R.)
- United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Clemson, S.Car. (S.C.L.)
- Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Distrito Federal, Mexico (R.A.M.)
- Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas (L.P.M.)
Biological Conservation, Volume 209, May 2017, Pages 172–177