Resource Documents: Birds (47 items)
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California, Canada, Mexico, U.S., Wildlife •
Vulnerability of avian populations to renewable energy production
Author: Conkling, Tara; et al.
Abstract: Renewable energy production can kill individual birds, but little is known about how it affects avian populations. We assessed the vulnerability of populations for 23 priority bird species killed at wind and solar facilities in California, USA. Bayesian hierarchical models suggested that 48% of these species were vulnerable to population-level effects from added fatalities caused by renewables and other sources. Effects of renewables extended far beyond the location of energy production to impact bird populations in distant regions across continental migration networks. Populations of species associated with grasslands where turbines were located were most vulnerable to wind. Populations of nocturnal migrant species were most vulnerable to solar, despite not typically being associated with deserts where the solar facilities we evaluated were located. Our findings indicate that addressing declines of North American bird populations requires consideration of the effects of renewables and other anthropogenic threats on both nearby and distant populations of vulnerable species.
Tara J. Conkling and Todd E. Katzner, Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Boise, Idaho
Hannah B. Vander Zanden, Department of Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
Taber D. Allison, Renewable Energy Wildlife Institute, Washington, DC
Jay E. Diffendorfer, Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, Colorado
Thomas V. Dietsch, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Carlsbad, California
Adam E. Duerr, Bloom Research Inc., Santa Ana, California
Amy L. Fesnock, Desert District Office, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Palm Springs, California
Rebecca R. Hernandez, Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, and Wild Energy Initiative, John Muir Institute of the Environment, University of California, Davis, California
Scott R. Loss, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma
David M. Nelson, Appalachian Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Frostburg, Maryland
Peter M. Sanzenbacher, Palm Springs Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Palm Springs, California
Julie L. Yee, Western Ecological Research Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Santa Cruz, California
Royal Society Open Science March 2022, Volume 9 Issue 3. doi:10.1098/rsos.211558
Download original document: “Vulnerability of avian populations to renewable energy production”
South Africa, Wildlife •
On a collision course? The large diversity of birds killed by wind turbines in South Africa
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”
Netherlands, Wildlife •
Mortality limits used in wind energy impact assessment underestimate impacts of wind farms on bird populations
Author: Schippers, Peter; et al.
1. The consequences of bird mortality caused by collisions with wind turbines are increasingly receiving attention. So‐called acceptable mortality limits of populations, that is, those that assume that 1%–5% of additional mortality and the potential biological removal (PBR), provide seemingly clear‐cut methods for establishing the reduction in population viability. 2. We examine how the application of these commonly used mortality limits could affect populations of the Common Starling, Black‐tailed Godwit, Marsh Harrier, Eurasian Spoonbill, White Stork, Common Tern, and White‐tailed Eagle using stochastic density‐independent and density‐dependent Leslie matrix models. 3. Results show that population viability can be very sensitive to proportionally small increases in mortality. Rather than having a negligible effect, we found that a 1% additional mortality in postfledging cohorts of our studied populations resulted in a 2%–24% decrease in the population level after 10 years. Allowing a 5% mortality increase to existing mortality resulted in a 9%–77% reduction in the populations after 10 years.
Peter Schippers, Ralph Buij, Alex Schotman, Jana Verboom, Henk van der Jeugd, Eelke Jongejans
Wageningen Environmental Research, Wageningen University & Research; Environmental Systems Analysis, Wageningen University; Vogeltrekstation – Dutch Centre for Avian Migration and Demography, Wageningen; Animal Ecology and Physiology, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Ecology and Evolution. Published on line 04 June 2020. doi: 10.1002/ece3.6360
Download original document: “Mortality limits used in wind energy impact assessment underestimate impacts of wind farms on bird populations”
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
Download original document: “Avian vulnerability to wind farm collision through the year: Insights from lesser black-backed gulls (Larus fuscus) tracked from multiple breeding colonies”