Wind Wildlife Research Fund Research Projects

The Fund supports priority research projects that expand the understanding of the challenges and the potential solutions for wind-wildlife interactions.

All project proposals, scopes of work, and results undergo independent peer and expert review and are submitted to peer-reviewed journals for publication or will be published as AWWI technical reports.

Enhancing Understanding of Bat and Bird Activities and Fatality Risk

*New in 2021* Understanding differences between collision risk of male and female bats of different species to inform minimization strategies: Evaluate ratios of male vs. female bat fatalities at operating wind farms through genetics-based sex determination to understand when and where males and females of seven North American bat species experience peak collision risk.

Relationship between bat acoustic activity and collision fatalities: Pair pre-construction bat acoustic activity surveys with publicly available fatality estimates from the same wind facilities to evaluate the ability of pre-construction acoustic activity to predict bat collision risk. View 2019 journal publication.

Landscape factors associated with fatalities of migratory tree-roosting bats at wind energy facilities: Evaluate American Wind Wildlife Information Center (AWWIC) fatality data to further assess the relationship between landscape-level attributes and variation in fatalities of hoary bat and other tree bat species among wind energy facilities. View 2019 report.

*Continuing in 2021* Evaluating the effect of turbine size on bird and bat mortality: Analyze the effect of turbine height and rotor diameter on bird and bat fatality rates using data contributed to the American Wind Wildlife Information Center (AWWIC) to assess whether bird and bat fatality risk increases with turbine size.

Investigating of the effect of insects on bat fatalities at wind turbines: Develop the first phase of a project – a detailed study design – to evaluate whether UV light will attract insects away from the rotor swept area of wind turbines and reduce bat activity and collision risk.

Refining Smart Curtailment Practices for Bats

*New in 2021* Using the passage of weather fronts to predict hoary bat mortality: Assess the relationship between the passage of weather fronts and hoary bats collisions at operating wind farms to develop a tool that predicts periods of increased collision risk based on real-time regional weather data.

*New in 2021* Reassessing bat collision risk using acoustic exposure: Use acoustic data to quantify the meteorological, seasonal, and temporal conditions under which different bat species are active to develop a quantitative framework for predicting and managing periods of increased risk exposure.

Using local and regional weather data to improve smart curtailment strategies for bats: Scope the feasibility of using bat fatality models developed with machine learning technology and regional weather data to provide targeted, proactive turbine curtailments, resulting in reduced bat fatalities and reduced production losses.

Comparing the effectiveness of curtailment strategies in reducing bat fatalities: Compile data from post construction monitoring studies contributed to the American Wind Wildlife Information Center (AWWIC) to evaluate species-specific variation in bat fatalities among different curtailment regimes.

Assessing the Efficacy of Detection and Active Response Curtailment (DARC) Technology: Test the efficacy of the Detection and Active Response Curtailment (DARC) technology – developed to integrate with turbine control systems and use real-time data on bat presences and wind speed to execute curtailment commands – at an operational wind facility. This project is collaboratively funded with the DOE.

Refining Eagle Fatality Estimates and Informed Curtailment

Using machine learning to model eagle behavior and improve turbine curtailment strategies: Develop turbine-specific algorithms that incorporate eagle flight behavior recorded by camera-based detection systems into curtailment decisions to improve curtailment algorithms for these systems and ultimately reduce eagle collision risk.

Improving adjustments for raptor carcass persistence: Analyze regional variation in persistence of game bird versus raptor carcasses used in carcass persistence trials to produce more accurate estimates of fatalities of eagles and other raptors.

*Continuing in 2021* Incorporating incidental eagle carcass detection to improve eagle take estimates: Evaluate methods of incorporating incidental carcass detections by wind facility operations staff into the overall estimated probability of detection at an operating wind facility to provide a methodology for operators to more accurately estimate eagle take.

Evaluating Habitat-Based Impacts for Grouse

*Continuing in 2021* Assessing lesser prairie-chicken response to a wind energy development: Continue the fifth year of data collection and analysis of a study investigating the potential effects of wind facilities on the lesser prairie-chicken to provide data previously lacking to inform siting decisions within lesser prairie-chicken habitat. View 2019 report.