Some bird species migrating through the Great Plains states aren’t impacted much by the presence of wind energy towers, the U.S. Geological Survey found.
Wind turbines may pose a potential threat to birds migrating through areas with high concentrations of renewable energy activity. The USGS said it examined historic data on migration patterns of sandhill cranes through mid-continent states like Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas that have a large concentration of wind farms and found few threats to the species.
“Although about 50 percent of cranes in our study used locations that had wind towers nearby – within about 6.2 miles – there were few instances in which high densities of cranes and high densities of towers coincided,” Aaron Pearse, the USGS scientist who wrote the report, said in a statement.
A report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration found Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa and North Dakota were leading the way in terms of new wind energy installations. Texas added the most wind capacity of any state last year.
In Texas, the USGS study found 5 percent of the turbine installations were located in areas identified as preferred crane winter habitat. Region-wide, the study found a 7 percent overlap between crane habitat and wind towers. Most wind installations, the report found, have been placed in areas that avoid areas used by cranes.
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