The Otsego County Board of Representatives recently endorsed a proposal by the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society to study the flight paths of golden eagles in the area.
The Audubon Society wants to chart where these birds of prey fly to make sure that wind turbines are not erected in their paths, according to member Tom Salo, of Burlington.
Federal money for this type of project has been sent to New York state, and the Audubon Society would like to apply for a state grant to do the work locally. More than 200 golden eagles, as well as many red-tail hawks, have been seen in the Franklin Mountain area, Salo said.
“A significant portion of the golden eagle population migrates along the ridges,” Salo said recently.
A study is under way in Pennsylvania, he noted. There, the National Aviary and the Powdermill Avian Research Center have trapped birds and outfitted them with solar-powered telemetry devices, according to the National Aviary’s website.
The devices will work for up to three years, letting researchers know where the birds are.
“In addition to GPS location data, we also get data on instantaneous flight speed and flight elevation,” the site reads.
With such information, researchers will know where wind turbines would be most hazardous to the birds, Salo said.
The Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society does not oppose construction of wind turbines but wants them situated where they will be least harmful to birds, he said. The website of the Bureau of Land Management, under the federal Department of the Interior, lists indirect and direct human causes, including wind turbines, as the greatest source of mortality among the species.
Salo referred to the organization’s recent newsletter, which, in part, states:
“The DOAS Board understands the threats posed by the burning of fossil fuels. We support properly sited wind projects. However, we are growing concerned about impacts to birds and bats. As many as 60,000 wind turbines will be required to reach national energy goals. Many will be built along the ridges of New York and Pennsylvania. Some of those ridges, such as Franklin Mountain, will attract raptors.
“As a species, golden eagle is especially vulnerable to wind turbines. It has been called the species which appears to be at the highest risk. Knowing that more eastern goldens pass our site than anywhere else this far north, we feel a special responsibility to protect `our’ birds. This isn’t easy, since away from our site almost nothing is known about how they migrate through New York.”
The release continues, “To learn more about this NYS endangered species so they can be protected, we have joined with scientists studying golden eagles in Pennsylvania. We intend to expand their ongoing study of migration routes into New York.”
Recently, the Otsego County Board voted to support these efforts. Rep Martha Stayton, D-Oneonta, said she hoped that in the future such proposals would come through committee so they could be analyzed, b [article ends]
By Tom Grace
Cooperstown News Bureau
22 march 2007
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding