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Recent bird and bat wind turbine research  

Author:  | Noise, Wildlife

Barriers to movement: Modelling energetic costs of avoiding marine wind farms amongst breeding seabirds.

Masden EA, Haydon DT, Fox AD, Furness RW.
Boyd Orr Centre for Population and Ecosystem Health, University of Glasgow, Scotland.

Proposals for wind farms in areas of known importance for breeding seabirds highlight the need to understand the impacts of these structures. Using an energetic modelling approach, we examine the effects of wind farms as barriers to movement on seabirds of differing morphology. Additional costs, expressed in relation to typical daily energetic expenditures, were highest per unit flight for seabirds with high wing loadings, such as cormorants. Taking species-specific differences into account, costs were relatively higher in terns, due to the high daily frequency of foraging flights. For all species, costs of extra flight to avoid a wind farm appear much less than those imposed by low food abundance or adverse weather, although such costs will be additive to these. We conclude that adopting a species-specific approach is essential when assessing the impacts of wind farms on breeding seabird populations, to fully anticipate the effects of avoidance flights.

Marine Pollution Bulletin. 2010 Jul;60(7):1085-91. Epub 2010 Feb 25.

Wind turbines and bat mortality: Doppler shift profiles and ultrasonic bat-like pulse reflection from moving turbine blades.

Long CV, Flint JA, Lepper PA.
Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Loughborough University, Leicestershire.

Bat mortality resulting from actual or near-collision with operational wind turbine rotors is a phenomenon that is widespread but not well understood. Because bats rely on information contained in high-frequency echoes to determine the nature and movement of a target, it is important to consider how ultrasonic pulses similar to those used by bats for echolocation may be interacting with operational turbine rotor blades. By assessing the characteristics of reflected ultrasonic echoes, moving turbine blades operating under low wind speed conditions (<6?m?s(-1)) were found to produce distinct Doppler shift profiles at different angles to the rotor. Frequency shifts of up to ±700-800 Hz were produced, which may not be perceptible by some bat species. Monte Carlo simulation of bat-like sampling by echolocation revealed that over 50 rotor echoes could be required by species such as Pipistrellus pipistrellus for accurate interpretation of blade movement, which may not be achieved in the bat's approach time-window. In summary, it was found that echoes returned from moving blades had features which could render them attractive to bats or which might make it difficult for the bat to accurately detect and locate blades in sufficient time to avoid a collision. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 2010 Oct;128(4):2238.

This material is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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