Duke University
Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
Bio 217

 

 

Home

General Avian Impacts

Bird Site Assessment

Avian Solutions

About Bats and Wind Turbines

Bat Site Assessments

Bat Data and Diagrams

References

Back to Bio 217 Projects

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

General Avian Impacts

capecodliving.blogspot.com Wikipedia Commons www.sei.org

Unfortunately wind turbines have received a bad rap in some circles due to avian impacts. These stereotypes are often unjustified and don’t take into consideration the indirect positive effects on avian populations such as clean air and safer food supplies. More notably, if avian impact studies are completed and adhered to, the likelihood of serious avian mortalities is very small (Anderson et al, 2006). In addition, there are a number of mitigation actions that can be taken before and after a wind farm is built. (See 'Avian Solutions' link)

When avian mortality from wind turbines is put in perspective with other avian deaths caused by humans it pales in comparison. In a study done for the National Wind Coordinating Committee Erickson et. al. found that based on current estimates, windplant-related avian collision fatalities probably represent from 0.01% to 0.02% (i.e., 1 out of every 5,000 to 10,000 avian fatalities) of the annual avian collision fatalities in the United States (Erickson et al 2001). One of the largest threats to the U.S. avian population is feral and outdoor cats, which according to the Audubon Society, kill over 100 million birds each year. Other high impact human activities are:

• Buildings and Windows: 98 million - 980 million

• Vehicles: 60 million - 80 million

• Powerlines: tens of thousands - 174 million

• Communication Towers: 4 million - 50 million

• Wind Generation Facilities: 10,000 - 40,000

Source: Erickson, et. al, 2002 Summary of Anthropogenic Causes of Bird Mortality. Retrieved from http://www.awea.org/faq/wwt_environment.html

Even as the number and size of wind farm facilities continues to grow in the U.S. , bird kills are not expected to be of significant concern, especially with the sophisticated pre-permitting impact studies done today.

(NWCC, 2004)