Resource Documents: Wildlife (283 items)
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Author: Pearse, Aaron; Metzger, Kristine; Brand, David; Shaffer, Jill; Bidwell, Mark; and Harrell, Wade
[Abstract] Electricity generation from renewable‐energy sources has increased dramatically worldwide in recent decades. Risks associated with wind‐energy infrastructure are not well understood for endangered whooping cranes (Grus americana) or other vulnerable crane populations. From 2010 to 2016, we monitored 57 whooping cranes with remote‐telemetry devices in the United States Great Plains to determine potential changes in migration distribution (i.e., avoidance) caused by presence of wind‐energy infrastructure. During our study, the number of wind towers tripled in the whooping crane migration corridor and quadrupled in the corridor’s center. Median distance of whooping crane locations from nearest wind tower was 52.1 km, and 99% of locations were >4.3 km from wind towers. A habitat selection analysis revealed that whooping cranes used areas ≤5.0 km (95% Confidence Interval = 4.8–5.4) from towers less than expected (i.e., zone of influence) and that whooping cranes were 20 times (95% CI: 14–64) more likely to use areas outside compared to adjacent to towers. Eighty percent of whooping crane locations and 20% of wind towers were located in areas with the highest relative probability of whooping crane use based on our model, which comprised 20% of the study area. Whooping cranes selected for these places, whereas developers constructed wind infrastructure at random relative to desirable whooping crane habitat. As of early 2020, 4.6% of the study area and 5.0% of the highest‐selected whooping crane habitat were within the collective zone of influence. The affected area equates to habitat loss ascribed to wind‐energy infrastructure; losses from other disturbances have not been quantified. Continued growth of the whooping crane population during this period of wind infrastructure construction suggests no immediate population‐level consequences. Chronic or lag effects of habitat loss are unknown but possible for long‐lived species. Preferentially constructing future wind infrastructure outside of the migration corridor or inside of the corridor at sites with low probability of whooping crane use would allow for continued wind‐energy development in the Great Plains with minimal additional risk to highly selected habitat that supports recovery of this endangered species.
Aaron T. Pearse, David A. Brandt, Jill A. Shaffer, U.S. Geological Survey, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, North Dakota
Kristine L. Metzger, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Mark T. Bidwell, Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment and Climate Change Canada
Wade Harrell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Austwell, Texas
Ecological Applications, published online before print March 7, 2021
Author: Refoyo Román, Pablo; Olmedo Salinas, Cristina; and Muñoz Araújo, Benito
Energy production by wind turbines has many advantages. The wind is a renewable energy that does not emit greenhouse gases and has caused a considerable increase in wind farms around the world. However, this type of energy is not completely free of impact. In particular, wind turbines displace and kill a wide variety of wild species what forces us to plan their location well. In any case, the determination of the effects of wind farms on fauna, especially the flying one, is difficult to determine and depends on several factors. In this work, we will try to establish a mathematical algorithm that allows us to combine all variables that affect the species with the idea of quantifying the effect that can be caused by the installation of a wind farm with certain characteristics in a given place. We have considered specific parameters of wind farms, the most relevant environmental characteristics related to the location of the wind farm, and morphological, ethological, and legal characteristics in the species. Two types of assessment are established for the definitive valuation: Total Assessment and Weighted Assessment. Total Valuation is established based on a reference scale that will allow us to establish categories of affection for the different species while Weighted Valuation allows us to establish which species are most affected.
Pablo Refoyo Román, Cristina Olmedo Salinas, and Benito Muñoz Araújo
Biodiversity, Ecology & Evolution Department, Biological Sciences Faculty, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain
Scientific Reports (2020) 10:14785
Download original document: “Assessing-effect-wind-farms-fauna”
Bird collisions at wind turbines in a mountainous area related to bird movement intensities measured by radar
Author: Aschwanden, Janine; et al.
Bird collisions at wind turbines are perceived to be an important conservation issue. To determine mitigation actions such as temporary shutdown of wind turbines when bird movement intensities are high, knowledge of the relationship between the number of birds crossing an area and the number of collisions is essential. Our aim was to combine radar data on bird movement intensities with collision data from a systematic carcass search.
We used a dedicated bird radar, located near a wind farm in a mountainous area, to continuously record bird movement intensities from February to mid-November 2015. In addition, we searched the ground below three wind turbines (Enercon E-82) for carcasses on 85 dates and considered three established correction factors to extrapolate the number of collisions.
The extrapolated number of collisions was 20.7 birds/wind turbine (CI-95%: 14.3–29.6) for 8.5 months. Nocturnally migrating passerines, especially kinglets (Regulus spp.), represented 55% of the fatalities. 2.1% of the birds theoretically exposed to a collision (measured by radar at the height of the wind turbines) were effectively colliding.
Collisions mainly occurred during migration and affected primarily nocturnal migrants. It was not possible to assign the fatalities doubtlessly to events with strong migration. Fresh-looking carcasses were found after nights with both strong and weak bird movement intensities, indicating fatalities are not restricted to mass movement events (onshore). Rather, it is likely that an important factor influencing collision risk is limited visibility due to weather conditions. Local and regional visibility should be considered in future studies and when fine-tuning shutdown systems for wind turbines.
Janine Aschwanden, Herbert Stark, Dieter Peter, Thomas Steuri, Baptiste Schmid, Felix Liechti
Swiss Ornithological Institute, Switzerland
Volume 220, April 2018, Pages 228-236
Author: Perold, V.; Ralston-Paton, S.; and Ryan, P.
[Abstract] Wind energy is a clean, renewable alternative to fossil fuel-derived energy sources, but many birds are at risk from collisions with wind turbines. We summarise the diversity of birds killed by turbine collisions at 20 wind energy facilities (WEFs) across southwest South Africa. Monitoring from 2014 to 2018 recovered 848 bird carcasses across all WEFs, at a crude rate of 1.0 ± 0.6 birds turbine−1 y−1 at 16 WEFs with at least 12 months of postconstruction monitoring. However, mortality estimates adjusted for detection and scavenger bias were appreciably higher: 4.6 ± 2.9 birds turbine−1 y−1 or 2.0 ± 1.3 birds MW−1 y−1 (n = 14 WEFs with site-specific bias correction factors), which is slightly lower than mean rates reported in the northern hemisphere, but still well within range. A striking result was the high diversity of birds killed: 130 species from 46 families, totalling 30% of bird species recorded at and around WEFs, including some species not recorded by specialist surveys at WEF sites (e.g. flufftails Sarothruridae). Species accumulation models suggest that 184 (±22) species will be killed at these facilities, some 42% of species found in the vicinity of WEFs. This is despite the smaller number of migrants in the study region, compared with the north temperate zone. Diurnal raptors were killed most often (36% of carcasses, 23 species) followed by passerines (30%, 49 species), waterbirds (11%, 24 species), swifts (9%, six species), large terrestrial birds (5%, 10 species), pigeons (4%, six species) and other near passerines (1%, seven species). Species of conservation concern killed include endangered Cape Vultures Gyps coprotheres and Black Harriers Circus maurus, both of which are endemic to southern Africa. Every effort must be made to site wind energy facilities away from important areas for birds, particularly raptors.
V. Perold and P. Ryan, FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
S. Ralston-Paton, BirdLife South Africa, Pinegowrie, South Africa
Ostrich 2020: 1–12. doi: 10.2989/00306525.2020.1770889
Download original document: “On a collision course? The large diversity of birds killed by wind turbines in South Africa”