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.

(AWEA) American Wind Energy Association. 2017. U.S. Wind Industry First Quarter 2017 Market Report. Washington, DC. Accessed online 6/6/17 at http://awea.files.cms-plus.com/FileDownloads/pdfs/1Q2017%20AWEA%20Market%20Report%20Public%20Version.pdf

Agha M, Lovich JE, Ennen JR, Augustine B, Arundel TR, Murphy MO, Meyer-Wilkins K, Bjurlin C, Delaney D, Briggs J, Austin M, Madrak SV, and Price SJ. 2015. Turbines and Terrestrial Vertebrates: Variation in Tortoise Survivorship Between a Wind Energy Facility and an Adjacent Undisturbed Wildland Area in the Desert Southwest. Environmental Management 56(2): 332-341.

Arnett EB and Baerwald EF. 2013. Impacts of wind energy development on bats: implications for conservation. In: Bat Evolution, Ecology, and Conservation. Springer New York: 435-456.

Arnett EB, Brown WK, Erickson WP, Fiedler JK, Hamilton BI, Henry TH, Jain A, Johnson GD, Kerns J, Koford RR, Nicholson CP, O’Connell TJ, Piorkowski MD, and Tankersley Jr. RD. 2008. Patterns of bat fatalities at wind energy facilities in North America. The Journal of Wildlife Management 72(1): 61-78.

Arnett EB, Huso MMP, Schirmacher MR, and Hayes JP. 2011. Altering turbine speed reduces bat mortality at wind-energy facilities. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 9(4): 209-214.

Arnett EB, Hein CD, Schirmacher MR, Huso MMP, and Szewczak JM. 2013a. Evaluating the effectiveness of an ultrasonic acoustic deterrent for reducing bat fatalities at wind turbines. PloS One 8(6): e65794.

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.

Baerwald E, Edworthy J, Holder M, and Barclay RMR. 2008. Barotrauma is a significant cause of bat mortalities at wind turbines. Current Biology 18(16): 695–696.

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.

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, Edworthy J, Holder M, and Barclay RMR. 2009. A large-scale mitigation experiment to reduce bat fatalities at wind energy facilities. The Journal of Wildlife Management 73(7): 1077-1081.

Barclay R and Harder L. 2003. Life histories of bats: life in the slow lane. In Bat Ecology, University of Chicago Press: 209-253.

Barclay R, Baerwald E, and Gruver J. 2007. Variation in bat and bird mortalities at wind energy facilities: assessing the effects of rotor size and tower height. Canadian Journal of Zoology 85(3): 381–387.

Barrios L and Rodríguez A. 2004. Behavioural and environmental correlates of soaring-bird mortality at on-shore wind turbines. Journal of Applied Ecology 41(1): 72-81.

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Bellebaum J, Korner-Nievergelt F, Dürr T, and Mammen U. 2013. Wind turbine fatalities approach a level of concern in a raptor population. Journal for Nature Conservation 21: 394-400.

Bennett V and Hale A. 2014. Red aviation lights on wind turbines do not increase bat-turbine collisions. Animal Conservation 17(4): 354–358.

Calvert A, Bishop C, Elliot R, Krebs E, Kydd T, Machtans C, and Robertson G. 2013. A synthesis of human-related avian mortality in Canada. Avian Conservation and Ecology 8(2): 11.

Carrete M, Sanchez-Zapata J, Benitez J, et al. 2012. Mortality at wind-farms is positively related to large-scale distribution and aggregation in griffon vultures. Biological Conservation 145(1): 102-108.

Carrete, M., J. A. Sanchez-Zapata, J. R. Benitez, M. Lobon, and J. A. Donazar. 2010. Large scale risk-assessment of wind-farms on population viability of a globally endangered long-lived raptor. Biological Conservation 142:2954-2961.

Cryan P and Barclay R. 2009. Causes of bat fatalities at wind turbines: hypotheses and predictions. Journal of Mammalogy 90(6): 1330-1340.

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.

(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.

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.

Graff BJ, Jenks JA, Stafford JD, Jensen KC, Grovenburg TW. 2016. Assessing spring direct mortality to avifauna from wind energy facilities in the Dakotas. The Journal of Wildlife Management 80(4):736-745.

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.

Hayes, M. 2012. The Geomyces fungi: ecology and distribution. BioScience 62(9): 819-823.

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.

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.

Loss SR, Will T, and Marra PP. 2013a. Estimates of bird collision mortality at wind facilities in the contiguous United States. Biological Conservation 168: 201-209.

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.

Loss SR, Will T, Loss SS, and Marra PP. 2014a. Bird-building collisions in the United States: Estimates of annual mortality and species vulnerability. The Condor 116(1): 8-23.

Loss SR, Will T, and Marra PP. 2014b. Estimation of bird‐vehicle collision mortality on US roads. The Journal of Wildlife Management 78(5): 763-771.

Loss SR, Will T, and Marra PP. 2014c. Refining estimates of bird collision and electrocution mortality at power lines in the United States. PloS ONE 9(7): e101565.

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.

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.

New L, Bjerre E, Millsap BA, Otto MC, and Runge MC. 2015. A collision risk model to predict avian fatalities at wind facilities: An example using Golden Eagles, Aquila chrysaetos. PloS one 10(7): e0130978.

(NRC) National Research Council. 2010. Hidden costs of energy: unpriced consequences of energy production and use. 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.

Peters KA, Mizrahi DS, and Allen MC. 2014. Empirical Evidence for Factors Affecting Searcher Efficiency and Scavenging Rates at a Coastal, Terrestrial Wind-Power Facility. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 5: 330–339.

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.

Robel R, Harrington Jr J, Hagen C, Pitman J, and Reker R. 2004. Effect of energy development and human activity on the use of sand sagebrush habitat by lesser prairie-chickens in southwestern Kansas. Transactions of the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference 69: 251-266.

Rollins K, Meyerholz D, Johnson G, Capparella A, and Loew S. 2012. A forensic investigation into the etiology of bat mortality at a wind farm: barotrauma or traumatic injury? Veterinary Pathology 49(2): 362-371.

Shaffer JA and Buhl DA. 2015. Effects of wind-energy facilities on breeding grassland bird distributions. Conservation Biology 30(1):59-71.

Smallwood KS and Karas B. 2009. Avian and bat fatality rates at old-generation and repowered wind turbines in California. The Journal of Wildlife Management 73(7): 1062–1071.

Smallwood KS and Thelander CG. 2008. Bird mortality in the Altamont Pass wind resource area, California. The Journal of Wildlife Management 72(1): 215–223.

Sovic MG, Carstens BC, Gibbs HL. 2016. Genetic diversity in migratory bats: Results from RADseq data for three tree bat species at an Ohio windfarm. PeerJ 4: e1647.

Stevens T, Hale A, Karsten K, and Bennet VJ. 2013. An analysis of displacement from wind turbines in a wintering grassland bird community. Biodiversity and Conservation 22(8): 1755-1767.

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Welcker J, Liesenjohann M, Blew J, Nehls G, and Grünkorn T. 2017. Nocturnal migrants do not incur higher collision risk at wind turbines than diurnally active species. Ibis 159(2): 366-373.

Weller T and Baldwin J. 2012. Using echolocation monitoring to model bat occupancy and inform mitigations at wind energy facilities. The Journal of Wildlife Management 76(3): 619-631.

Winder V, Gregory A, McNew L, and Sandercock B. 2015. Responses of male Greater Prairie-Chickens to wind energy development. The Condor 117: 284-296.

Winder V, Mcnew L, Gregory A, Hunt L, Wisely S, and Sandercock B. 2014. Effects of wind energy development on the survival of female greater prairie-chickens. Journal of Applied Ecology 51(2): 395-405.

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