Summary of Wind-Wildlife Interactions

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

Last Updated with Latest Publicly Available Information: June 2017

This page summarizes publicly available information 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. To download a printable PDF of this information, click here.

Suggested Citation for this Page: American Wind Wildlife Institute (AWWI). 2017. Wind turbine interactions with wildlife and their habitats: a summary of research results and priority questions. Viewed [DATE] at <[HYPERLINK]>.

In recognition of the active work in this field of research, the information on this page is updated and undergoes expert review on an annual basis to incorporate new results as they become publicly available. For a summary of substantial changes made for the June 2017 version, please click here. To download the 2016 version, click here. To download the 2015 version, click here. To download the 2014 version, click here.

Literature citations supporting the information presented are denoted in parentheses; full citations can be found below.


Literature Cited

Click here to download a PDF of all sources.

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Cryan P, Gorresen P, Hein C, Schirmacher M, Diehl R, Huso M, Hayman D, Fricker P, Bonaccorso F, Johnson D, Heist K, and Dalton D. 2014. Behavior of bats at wind turbines. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111(42): 15126-15131.

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.

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

Dahl E, Bevanger K, Nygard T, Roskaft E, and Stokke BG. 2012. Reduced breeding success in white-tailed eagles at Smøla windfarm, western Norway, is caused by mortality and displacement. Biological Conservation 145(1): 79-85.

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

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.

Erickson W, Wolfe M, Bay K, Johnson D, and Gehring JL. 2014. A comprehensive analysis of small-passerine fatalities from collision with turbines at wind energy facilities. PLoS ONE 9(9): e107491.

Everaert J. 2014. Collision risk and micro-avoidance rates of birds with wind turbines in Flanders. Bird Study 61(2): 220–230.

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Frick WF, Baerwald EF, Pollock JF, Barclay RMR, Szymanski JA, Weller TJ, Russell AL, Loeb SC, Medellin RA, and McGuire LP. 2017. Fatalities at wind turbines may threaten population viability of a migratory bat. Biological Conservation 209: 172-177.

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

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

Hunt WG, Wiens JD, Law PR, Fuller MR, Hunt TL, Driscoll DE, and Jackman RE. 2017. Quantifying the demographic cost of human-related mortality to a raptor population. PloS ONE 12(2): e0172232.

Hunt WG, McClure C, Allison TD. 2015. Do Raptors React to Ultraviolet Light? Journal of Raptor Research 49(3): 342–343.

Huso M, Dalthorp D, Miller TJ, and Bruns D. 2016. Wind energy development: methods to assess bird and bat fatality rates post-construction. Human-Wildlife Interactions 10(1): 62-70.

ICF International. 2016. Final report Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area bird fatality study, monitoring years 2005–2013. Prepared for Alameda County Community Development Agency, Hayward, CA. ICF 00904.08. ICF, Sacramento, CA, U.S.A.

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 G, Erickson W, Strickland M, Shepherd M, Shepherd D, and Sarappo S. 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.

Jones K, Purvis A, and Gittleman J. 2003. Biological correlates of extinction risks in bats. The American Naturalist 161(4): 601-614.

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.

Kingsley A and Whittam B. 2007. Wind turbines and birds: a background review for environmental assessment. Prepared for Environment Canada/Canadian Wildlife Service. Bird Studies Canada.

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.

Korstian JM, Hale AM, Williams DA. 2015. Genetic diversity, historic population size, and population structure in two North American tree bats. Journal of Mammalogy 96(5): 972–980.

Kunz TH, Arnett EB, Erickson WP, Hoar AR, Johnson GD, Larkin RP, Strickland MD, Thresher RW, and Tuttle MD. 2007. 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.

LeBeau CW, Johnson GD, Holloran MJ, Beck JL, Nielson RM, Kauffman ME, Rodemaker EJ, and McDonald TL. 2017a. Greater sage‐grouse habitat selection, survival, and wind energy infrastructure. The Journal of Wildlife Management 81(4): 690-711.

Lebeau CW, Beck JL, Johnson GD, Nielson RM, Holloran MJ, Gerow KG, and McDonald TL. 2017b. Greater sage‐grouse male lek counts relative to a wind energy development. Wildlife Society Bulletin 41(1): 17-26.

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

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.

Martin CM, Arnett EB, Stevens RD, and Wallace MC. 2017. Reducing bat fatalities at wind facilities while improving the economic efficiency of operational mitigation. Journal of Mammalogy 98(2): 378-385.

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

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Pearce-Higgins JW, Stephen L, Douse A, and Langston RHW. 2012. Greater impacts of wind farms on bird populations during construction than subsequent operation: results of a multi-site and multi-species analysis. Journal of Applied Ecology 49: 386-94.

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Piorkowski M and O’Connell T. 2010. Spatial pattern of summer bat mortality from collisions with wind turbines in mixed-grass prairie. The American Midland Naturalist 164(2): 260-269.

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