Wind Power Generation Impacts on Birds and Bats

With the climatic and sociopolitical consequences of fossil fuel use becoming increasingly apparent, the nation is rapidly turning to alternative means of electricity generation such as wind “farms”. Wind power facilities produce neither toxic byproducts nor greenhouse gas emissions, yet many conservationists are concerned that wind turbines may pose a severe risk to aerial vertebrates in some cases. Remote sensing techniques (e.g., acoustic detection, radar and thermal imaging) provide information on the relative abundance of aerial vertebrates that are active in the atmosphere at altitudes that put them at risk of encountering wind turbines.

Project Title:
Assessing Radar and Acoustic Data as a Useful Predictor of Collision Risk to Night Migrating Birds and Bats: A Test Using Data from the Maple Ridge Wind Power Project, Lewis County, NY

The goal of this project is to determine if a meaningful and reliable statistical relationship can be established between acoustic and radar data and bird and bat fatality data (numbers of carcasses found) at the Maple Ridge Wind Power Project in Lewis County, New York. This project should help to determine if radar and acoustic surveys have practical value in predicting bird and bat mortality risk at wind power facilities in New York.

Location:  Lewis County, New York, USA

Timeline:  2011-2012

Field participants:
Kevin Shoemaker, Ph.D Candidate, SUNY-ESF

Principal Investigators:
James P. Gibbs, SUNY-ESF
Paul Kerlinger, Curry & Kerlinger, LLC
David Mizrahi, New Jersey Audubon Society

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)

Kevin T. Shoemaker, SUNY-ESF, Syracuse, NY 13210 USA,, 315/470-6754