Summary of Wind-Wildlife Interactions

Wind Turbine Interactions with Wildlife and their Habitats:
A Summary of Research Results and Priority Questions

Last Updated: January 2014

This fact sheet summarizes what is known about the adverse impacts of land-based wind power on wildlife in North America and the status of our knowledge regarding how to avoid or minimize these impacts.

A precursor of this fact sheet, “Wind Turbine Interactions with Birds, Bats, and their Habitats: A Summary of Research Results and Priority Questions,” was first produced by the Wildlife Workgroup of the National Wind Coordinating Collaborative (NWCC) in 2004 and then updated in 2010. In January 2012 the American Wind Wildlife Institute began facilitating the NWCC, and this updated fact sheet continues the tradition of previous fact sheets in reflecting the latest assessment of wind energy impacts on wildlife based on a review of the available literature.

 

Literature Cited in Fact Sheet

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Arnett EB, Johnson GD, Erickson WP, and Hein CD. 2013b. A synthesis of operational mitigation studies to reduce bat fatalities at wind energy facilities in North America. A report for National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Golden, CO.

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Baerwald EF and Barclay RMR. 2011. Patterns of activity and fatality of migratory bats at a wind energy facility in Alberta, Canada. The Journal of Wildlife Management 75(5): 1103–1114.

Baerwald EF and Barclay RMR. 2009. Geographic variations in activity and fatality of migratory bats at wind energy facilities. Journal of Mammalogy 90(6): 1341-1349.

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Cryan PM. 2008. Mating behavior as a possible cause of bat fatalities at wind turbines. The Journal of Wildlife Management 72(3): 845-849.

Cryan PM, Jameson JW, Baerwald EF, Willis CKR, Barclay RMR, Snider EA, and Chrichton EG. 2012. Evidence of late-summer mating readiness and early sexual maturation in migratory tree-roosting bats found dead at wind turbines. PLoS One 7(10): e47586.

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de Lucas M, Ferrer M, Bechard M, and Muñoz MJ. 2012a. Griffon vulture mortality at wind farms in southern Spain: Distribution of fatalities and active mitigation measures. Biological Conservation 147(1): 184-189.

de Lucas M, Ferrer M, and Janns GFE. 2012b. Using wind tunnels to predict bird mortality in wind farms: the case of griffon vultures. PloS One 7(11): e48092.

Ennen J, Lovich J, Meyer K, Bjurlin C, and Arundel TR. 2012. Nesting ecology of a population of Gopherus agassizii at a utility-scale wind energy facility in southern California. Copeia 2: 222-228.

(FAA) Federal Aviation Administration. 2007. Obstruction marking and lighting. Advisory Circular AC 70/7460-1K, US Department of Transportation: 55.

Ferrer M, de Lucas M, Janss GFE, Casado E, Muñoz AR, Bechard MJ, and Calabuig CP. 2012. Weak relationship between risk assessment studies and recorded mortality in wind farms. Journal of Applied Ecology 49(1): 38-46.

Foley J, Clifford D, Castle K, Cryan P, and Ostfeld RS. 2011. Investigating and managing the rapid emergence of white-nose syndrome, a novel, fatal, infectious disease of hibernating bats. Conservation Biology 25(2): 223-231.

Frick WF, Pollock JF, Hicks A, Langwig K, Reynolds DS, Turner G, Buthowski C, and Kunz TH. 2010. An emerging disease causes regional population collapse of a common North American bat species. Science 329(5992): 679-682.

Gehring J, Kerlinger P, and Manville AM. 2009. Communication towers, lights, and birds: successful methods of reducing the frequency of avian collisions. Ecological Applications 19(2): 505-514.

Grodsky S, Behr M, Gendler A, Drake D, Dieterle BD, Rudd RJ, and Walrath NL. 2011. Investigating the causes of death for wind turbine-associated bat fatalities. Journal of Mammalogy 92(5): 917-925.

Gue CT, Walker J, Mehl K, Gleason JS, Stephens SE, Loesch CR, Reynolds RE, and Goodwin BJ. 2013. The effects of a large-scale wind farm on breeding season survival of female mallards and blue-winged teal in the Prairie Pothole Region. The Journal of Wildlife Management 77(7): 1360-1371.

Hatchett E, Hale A, Bennett V, and Karsten K. 2013. Wind turbines do not negatively affect nest success in the Dickcissel (Spiza americana). The Auk 130(3): 520-528.

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Hein CD, Gruver J, and Arnett EB. 2013. Relating pre-construction bat activity and post-construction bat fatality to predict risk at wind energy facilities: a synthesis. A report for National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Bat Conservation International, Austin, TX, USA.

Hoover SL and Morrison ML. 2005. Behavior of red-tailed hawks in a wind turbine development. The Journal of Wildlife Management. 69(1): 150-159.

Horn JW, Arnett EB, and Kunz TH. 2008. Behavioral responses of bats to operating wind turbines. The Journal of Wildlife Management 72(1): 123–132.

Jain A, Koford R, Hancock A, and Zenner GG. 2011. Bat mortality at a northern Iowa wind resource area.The American Midland Naturalist 165: 185-200.

Johnson GD and Erickson WP. 2010. Avian, bat, and habitat cumulative impacts associated with wind energy development in the Columbia Plateau Ecoregion of eastern Washington and Oregon. Prepared for Klickitat County Planning Department, 40 pages.

Johnson GD, Erickson WP, Strickland MD, Shepherd MF, Shepherd DA, and Sarappo SA. 2002. Collision mortality of local and migrant birds at a large-scale wind-power development on Buffalo Ridge, Minnesota. Wildlife Society Bulletin 30: 879-887.

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Katzner T, Brandes D, Miller T, Lanzone M, Maisonneuve C, Tremblay JA, Hulvihill R, and Merovich GT. 2012. Topography drives migratory flight altitude of golden eagles: implications for on-shore wind energy development. Journal of Applied Ecology 49(5): 1178-1186.

Kerlinger P, Gehring JL, Erickson WP, Curry R, Jain A, and Guarnaccia J. 2010. Night migrant fatalities and obstruction lighting at wind turbines in North America. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 122(4): 744–754.

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Korstian JM, Hale AM, Bennett VJ, and Williams DA. 2013. Advances in sex determination in bats and its utility in wind-wildlife studies. Molecular Ecology Resources 13: 776-780.

Kunz TH, Arnett EB, Erickson WP, Hoar AR, Johnson GD, Larkin RP, Strickland MD, Thresher RW, and Tuttle MD. 2007a. Ecological impacts of wind energy development on bats: questions, research needs, and hypotheses. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 5(6): 315–324.

Kuvlesky WP, Brennan LA, Morrison ML, Boydston KK, Ballard BM, and Bryant FC. 2007. Wind energy development and wildlife conservation: Challenges and opportunities. The Journal of Wildlife Management 71(8): 2487-2498.

Loesch C, Walker J, Reynolds R, Gleason JS, Niemuth ND, Stephens SE, and Erickson MA. 2013. Effect of wind energy development on breeding duck densities in the Prairie Pothole region. The Journal of Wildlife Management 77(3): 587-598.

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Longcore T, Rich C, Mineau P, MacDonald B, Bert DG, Sullivan LM, and Drake D. 2012. An estimate of avian mortality at communication towers in the United States and Canada. PLoS One 7(4): e34025.

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Loss SR, Will T, and Marra, PP. 2013b. The impact of free-ranging domestic cats on wildlife of the United States. Nature Communications 4: 1396.

Lovich J and Ennen J. 2013. Assessing the state of knowledge of utility-scale wind energy development and operation on non-volant terrestrial and marine wildlife. Applied Energy 103: 52-60.

Lovich J, Ennen J, Mandrak S, Meyer K, Loughran C, Bjurlin C, Arundel T, Turner W, Jones C, and Groenendaal AM. 2011. Effects of wind energy production on growth, demography, and survivorship of a desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) population in southern California with comparisons to natural populations. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 6(2): 161-174.

Mabee TJ, Cooper BA, Plissner JH, and Young D. 2006. Nocturnal bird migration over an Appalachian ridge at a proposed wind power project. Wildlife Society Bulletin 34(3): 682-690.

Mabee TJ and Cooper BA. 2004. Nocturnal bird migration in northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington. Northwestern Naturalist 85(2): 39-47.

Miller A. 2008. Patterns of avian and bat mortality at a utility-scaled wind farm on the southern high plains. Thesis for Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA.

(NABCI) North American Bird Conservation Initiative. 2009. The state of the birds, United States of America, 2009. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC.

(NAS) National Academy of Sciences. 2007. Environmental impacts of wind-energy projects. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC.

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