Resource Documents: Birds (34 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.
Understanding bird collisions at wind farms: An updated review on the causes and possible mitigation strategies
Author: Marques, Ana Teresa; et al.
- Bird collisions with turbines are a result of species-, site- and wind farm-specific factors.
- High collision risk is explained by a combination of factors, not single ones.
- Not all factors that influence the risk of collision are considered in assessments.
- Future research should focus on assessing the effectiveness of mitigation strategies.
Bird mortality due to collisions with wind turbines is one of the major ecological concerns associated with wind farms. Data on the factors influencing collision risk and bird fatality are sparse and lack integration. This baseline information is critical to the development and implementation of effective mitigation measures and, therefore, is considered a priority research topic. Through an extensive literature review (we compiled 217 documents and include 111 in this paper), we identify and summarize the wide range of factors influencing bird collisions with wind turbines and the available mitigation strategies. Factors contributing to collision risk are grouped according to species characteristics (morphology, sensorial perception, phenology, behavior or abundance), site (landscape, flight paths, food availability and weather) and wind farm features (turbine type and configuration, and lighting). Bird collision risk results from complex interactions between these factors. Due to this complexity, no simple formula can be broadly applied in terms of mitigation strategies. The best mitigation option may involve a combination of more than one measure, adapted to the specificities of each site, wind farm and target species. Assessments during project development and turbine curtailment during operation have been presented as promising strategies in the literature, but need further investigation. Priority areas for future research are: (1) further development of the methodologies used to predict impacts when planning a new facility; (2) assessment of the effectiveness of existing minimization techniques; and (3) identification of new mitigation approaches.
Ana Teresa Marques, Helena Batalha, Sandra Rodrigues, Hugo Costa, Maria João Ramos Pereira, Carlos Fonseca, Miguel Mascarenhas, and Joana Bernardino
Bio3 – Estudos e Projetos em Biologia e Valorização de Recursos Naturais, Almada, Portugal
Biological Conservation, Volume 179, November 2014, Pages 40-52
Download original document: “Understanding bird collisions at wind farms: An updated review on the causes and possible mitigation strategies”
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
Download original document: “Bird collisions at an offshore platform in the North Sea”
Author: American Bird Conservancy
American Bird Conservancy (ABC) has identified 10 of the worst-sited wind energy projects for birds in the
United States, both existing and proposed, with the intention of educating the public and key decision makers about bird impacts from wind development. Many individuals and organizations have embraced wind energy without addressing the difficult questions about its potential impact on our nation’s wildlife. As a result, many wind development projects are causing significant bird mortality – at a scale that is now becoming a major source of concern for bird conservationists.
EXISTING and APPROVED PROJECTS
1. CHOKECHERRY AND SIERRA-MADRE
Location: Carbon County, Wyoming (Power Company of Wyoming LLC)
Why listed: Located in key breeding and foraging habitat for Greater Sage-Grouse and Golden Eagle
2. GULF WIND
Location: Kenedy County, Texas (Babcock & Brown, now owned by Pattern Energy)
Why listed: Located in a critical migratory pathway for songbirds; many raptor species are present; impacts habitat for declining grassland birds
Location: Lahaina District, Maui, Hawaii (First Wind, now part of SunEdison)
Why listed: One of the top known killers of Endangered birds
4. LAUREL MOUNTAIN
Location: Laurel Mountain, West Virginia (AES Energy Storage)
Why listed: Site of one of the largest single songbird mortality events ever recorded in North America
5. SUMMIT REPOWERING (AT ALTAMONT PASS)
Location: Alameda County, California (Altamont Winds, Inc.)
Why listed: Poses an ongoing threat to Golden Eagles and other birds as a result of poor siting
6. CAPE WIND
Location: Nantucket Sound, Massachusetts (Cape Wind Associates)
Why listed: Proposed location in area with one of the largest concentrations of migratory birds in the world; high risk of catastrophic mortality events
Location: Niagara County, New York near the town of Somerset (Apex Clean Energy)
Why listed: Vast numbers of migratory songbirds and numbers of raptors rely on this area; close to breeding habitat for declining grassland birds
Location: McIntosh and Dickey Counties, North Dakota (EDF Renewable Energy)
Why listed: Threat to the Endangered Whooping Crane and other federally protected birds
Location: Pratt County, Kansas (NextEra Energy Resources, LLC)
Why listed: Poses a high risk to Endangered Whooping Cranes through infrastructure development
10. ROCK CREEK
Location: Atchison County, Missouri (TradeWind Energy)
Why listed: Poses a high risk to migratory birds and Bald Eagles moving in and out of the Squaw Creek Wildlife Refuge
Download original document: “Ten worst-sited wind energy projects for birds”
Author: Loss, Scott; Will, Tom; and Marra, Peter
Wind energy has emerged as a promising alternative to fossil fuels, yet the impacts of wind facilities on wildlife remain unclear. Prior studies estimate between 10,000 and 573,000 fatal bird collisions with U.S. wind turbines annually; however, these studies do not differentiate between turbines with a monopole tower and those with a lattice tower, the former of which now comprise the vast majority of all U.S. wind turbines and the latter of which are largely being de-commissioned. We systematically derived an estimate of bird mortality for U.S. monopole turbines by applying inclusion criteria to compiled studies, identifying correlates of mortality, and utilizing a predictive model to estimate mortality along with uncertainty. Despite measures taken to increase analytical rigor, the studies we used may provide a non-random representation of all data; requiring industry reports to be made publicly available would improve understanding of wind energy impacts. Nonetheless, we estimate that between 140,000 and 328,000 (mean = 234,000) birds are killed annually by collisions with monopole turbines in the contiguous U.S. We found support for an increase in mortality with increasing turbine hub height and support for differing mortality rates among regions, with per turbine mortality lowest in the Great Plains. Evaluation of risks to birds is warranted prior to continuing a widespread shift to taller wind turbines. Regional patterns of collision risk, while not obviating the need for species-specific and local-scale assessments, may inform broad-scale decisions about wind facility siting.
Scott R. Loss, Peter P. Marra
Migratory Bird Center, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park, Washington, DC
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Migratory Birds, Midwest Regional Office, Bloomington, MN
Volume 168, December 2013, Pages 201–209