Resource Documents: Wildlife (273 items)
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Avian vulnerability to wind farm collision through the year: Insights from lesser black-backed gulls (Larus fuscus) tracked from multiple breeding colonies
Author: Thaxter, Chris; et al.
- Wind energy generation has become an important means to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and mitigate against human‐induced climate change, but could also represent a significant human–wildlife conflict. Airborne taxa such as birds may be particularly sensitive to collision mortality with wind turbines, yet the relative vulnerability of species’ populations across their annual life cycles has not been evaluated.
- Using GPS telemetry, we studied the movements of lesser black‐backed gulls Larus fuscus from three UK breeding colonies through their annual cycle. We modelled the distance travelled by birds at altitudes between the minimum and maximum rotor sweep zone of turbines, combined with the probability of collision, to estimate sensitivity to collision. Sensitivity was then combined with turbine density (exposure) to evaluate spatio‐temporal vulnerability.
- Sensitivity was highest near to colonies during the breeding season, where a greater distance travelled by birds was in concentrated areas where they were exposed to turbines.
- Consequently, vulnerability was high near to colonies but was also high at some migration bottlenecks and wintering sites where, despite a reduced sensitivity, exposure to turbines was greatest.
- Synthesis and applications. Our framework combines bird‐borne telemetry and spatial data on the location of wind turbines to identify potential areas of conflict for migratory populations throughout their annual cycle. This approach can aid the wind farm planning process by: (a) providing sensitivity maps to inform wind farm placement, helping minimize impacts; (b) identifying areas of high vulnerability where mitigation warrants exploration; (c) highlighting potential cumulative impacts of developments over international boundaries and (d) informing the conservation status of species at protected sites. Our methods can identify pressures and linkages for populations using effect‐specific metrics that are transferable and could help resolve other human–wildlife conflicts.
Chris B. Thaxter
Viola H. Ross‐Smith
Nigel A. Clark
Greg J. Conway
Gary D. Clewley
Lee J. Barber
Niall H. K. Burton
British Trust for Ornithology, Norfolk
Computational Geo‐Ecology, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Elizabeth A. Masden
Environmental Research Institute, North Highland College, University of the Highlands and Islands, Thurso, U.K.
Journal of Applied Ecology 2019; 00: 1–13
First published: 09 September 2019
Evidence of region-wide bat population decline from long-term monitoring and bayesian occupancy models with empirically informed priors
Author: Rodhouse, Thomas; et al.
Strategic conservation efforts for cryptic species, especially bats, are hindered by limited understanding of distribution and population trends. Integrating long‐term encounter surveys with multi‐season occupancy models provides a solution whereby inferences about changing occupancy probabilities and latent changes in abundance can be supported. When harnessed to a bayesian inferential paradigm, this modeling framework offers flexibility for conservation programs that need to update prior model‐based understanding about at‐risk species with new data. This scenario is exemplified by a bat monitoring program in the Pacific Northwestern United States in which results from 8 years of surveys from 2003 to 2010 require updating with new data from 2016 to 2018. The new data were collected after the arrival of bat white‐nose syndrome and expansion of wind power generation, stressors expected to cause population declines in at least two vulnerable species, little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) and the hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus). We used multi‐season occupancy models with empirically informed prior distributions drawn from previous occupancy results (2003–2010) to assess evidence of contemporary decline in these two species. Empirically informed priors provided the bridge across the two monitoring periods and increased precision of parameter posterior distributions, but did not alter inferences relative to use of vague priors. We found evidence of region‐wide summertime decline for the hoary bat (λ trend = 0.86 ± 0.10) since 2010, but no evidence of decline for the little brown bat (λ trend = 1.1 ± 0.10). White‐nose syndrome was documented in the region in 2016 and may not yet have caused regional impact to the little brown bat. However, our discovery of hoary bat decline is consistent with the hypothesis that the longer duration and greater geographic extent of the wind energy stressor (collision and barotrauma) have impacted the species. These hypotheses can be evaluated and updated over time within our framework of pre–post impact monitoring and modeling. Our approach provides the foundation for a strategic evidence‐based conservation system and contributes to a growing preponderance of evidence from multiple lines of inquiry that bat species are declining.
Thomas J. Rodhouse, National Park Service and Human and Ecosystem Resiliency and Sustainability Lab, Oregon State University—Cascades, Bend
Rogelio M. Rodriguez, Human and Ecosystem Resiliency and Sustainability Lab, Oregon State University—Cascades, Bend
Katharine M. Banner, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman
Patricia C. Ormsbee, Willamette National Forest, Springfield, Oregon
Jenny Barnett, Mid‐Columbia River National Wildlife Refuge Complex, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Burbank, Washington
Kathryn M. Irvine, Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Bozeman, Montana
Ecology and Evolution. 2019;00:1–11.
First published: 11 September 2019
Griffon vulture mortality at wind farms in southern Spain: Distribution of fatalities and active mitigation measures
Author: de Lucas, Manuela; et al.
Wind is increasingly being used as a renewable energy source around the world. Avian mortality is one of the negative impacts of wind energy and a new technique that reduces avian collision rates is necessary. Using the most frequently-killed species, the griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus), we studied its mortality at 13 wind farms in Tarifa, Cadiz, Spain, before (2006–2007) and after (2008–2009) when selective turbine stopping programs were implemented as a mitigation measure. Ten wind farms (total of 244 turbines) were selectively stopped and three wind farms (total of 52 turbines) were not. We found 221 dead griffon vultures during the entire study and the mortality rate was statistically different per turbine and year among wind farms. During 2006–2007, 135 griffon vultures were found dead and the spatial distribution of mortality was not uniformly distributed among turbines, with very few turbines showing the highest mortality rates. The 10 most dangerous turbines were distributed among six different wind farms. Most of the mortalities were concentrated in October and November matching the migratory period. During 2008–2009, we used a selective stopping program to stop turbines when vultures were observed near them and the griffon vulture mortality rate was reduced by 50% with a consequent reduction in total energy production of by the wind farms by only 0.07% per year. Our results indicate that the use of selective stopping techniques at turbines with the highest mortality rates can help to mitigate the impacts of wind farms on birds with a minimal affect on energy production.
► We studied griffon vulture mortality at 13 wind farms in Tarifa, before and after selective stopping program was implemented.
► 221 Dead vultures were found during the study and mortality rate was different per turbine and year among wind farms.
► During 2006–2007, 135 vultures dead and not uniformly distributed among turbines. Mortalities concentrated in October–November.
► During 2008–2009, program to stop turbines when vultures were observed near was applied. Mortality rate was reduced by 50%.
► Selective stopping turbines with the highest mortality rates can help to mitigate the impacts of wind farms on birds.
Manuela de Lucas, Miguel Ferrer, Department of Ethology and Biodiversity Conservation, Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC), Seville, Spain
Marc J.Bechard, Raptor Research Center, Department of Biological Sciences, Boise State University, Idaho, USA
Antonio R.Muñoz, Fundación Migres, Algeciras, Spain
Biological Conservation, Volume 147, Issue 1, March 2012, Pages 184-189
Download original document: “Griffon vulture mortality at wind farms in southern Spain: Distribution of fatalities and active mitigation measures”
Author: Martin, Graham; Portugal, Steven; and Murn, Campbell
The visual fields of vultures contain a small binocular region and large blind areas above, below and behind the head. Head positions typically adopted by foraging vultures suggest that these visual fields provide comprehensive visual coverage of the ground below, prohibit the eyes from imaging the sun and provide extensive visual coverage laterally. However, vultures will often be blind in the direction of travel. We conclude that by erecting structures such as wind turbines, which extend into open airspace, humans have provided a perceptual challenge that the vision of foraging vultures cannot overcome.
Graham R. Martin, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, U.K.
Steven J. Portugal, Structure and Motion Laboratory, The Royal Veterinary College, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, U.K.
Campbell P. Murn, Hawk Conservancy Trust, Sarson Lane, Weyhill, Andover, Hampshire, U.K.
Ibis: The International Journal of Avian Science
Volume 154, Issue 3, July 2012, Pages 626-631
Download original document: “Visual fields, foraging and collision vulnerability in Gyps vultures”