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Resource Documents: Birds (33 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.

Date added:  March 13, 2017
Germany, WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Bird collisions at an offshore platform in the North Sea

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
doi: 10.1080/00063657.2015.1134440

Download original document: “Bird collisions at an offshore platform in the North Sea

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Date added:  March 26, 2016
U.S., WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Ten of the worst-sited wind energy projects for birds

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 Proposed Wind Developments Posing Elevated Risks to Birds Due to Siting

Existing and Proposed Wind Developments Posing Elevated Risks to Birds Due to Siting


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

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

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

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


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

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

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Date added:  November 21, 2013
U.S., WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Estimates of bird collision mortality at wind facilities in the contiguous United States

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
Tom Will
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Migratory Birds, Midwest Regional Office, Bloomington, MN

Biological Conservation
Volume 168, December 2013, Pages 201–209
doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2013.10.007

Estimates of bird collision mortality at wind facilities in the contiguous United States

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Date added:  April 20, 2013
U.S., WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Comparing bird and bat fatality-rate estimates among North American wind-energy projects

Author:  Smallwood, K. Shawn

Abstract: Estimates of bird and bat fatalities are often made at wind-energy projects to assess impacts by comparing them with other fatality estimates. Many fatality estimates have been made across North America, but they have varied greatly in field and analytical methods, monitoring duration, and in the size and height of the wind turbines monitored for fatalities, and few benefited from scientific peer review. To improve comparability among estimates, I reviewed available reports of fatality monitoring at wind-energy projects throughout North America, and I applied a common estimator and 3 adjustment factors to data collected from these reports. To adjust fatality estimates for proportions of carcasses not found during routine monitoring, I used national averages from hundreds of carcass placement trials intended to characterize scavenger removal and searcher detection rates, and I relied on patterns of carcass distance from wind turbines to develop an adjustment for variation in maximum search radius around wind turbines mounted on various tower heights. Adjusted fatality rates correlated inversely with wind-turbine size for all raptors as a group across the United States, and for all birds as a group within the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area, California. I estimated 888,000 bat and 573,000 bird fatalities/year (including 83,000 raptor fatalities) at 51,630 megawatt (MW) of installed wind-energy capacity in the United States in 2012. As wind energy continues to expand, there is urgent need to improve fatality monitoring methods, especially in the implementation of detection trials, which should be more realistically incorporated into routine monitoring.

Wildlife Society Bulletin, Volume 37, Issue 1, pages 19–33, March 2013
DOI: 10.1002/wsb.260

Download original document: “Comparing bird and bat fatality-rate estimates among North American wind-energy projects

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