Addressing the factors that juxtapose raptors and wind turbines

Journal Article

Title: Addressing the factors that juxtapose raptors and wind turbines
Authors: Hunt,G.; Watson, J.
Publication Date:
March 01, 2016
Journal: Journal of Raptor Research
Volume: 50
Issue: 1
Pages: 92-97
Publisher: Raptor Research Foundation

Document Access

Website: External Link


Hunt,G.; Watson, J. (2016). Addressing the factors that juxtapose raptors and wind turbines. Journal of Raptor Research, 50(1), 92-97.

Humans unintentionally expose raptors to a variety of lethal collision hazards, most notably road vehicles (Massemin and Zorn 1998), wires (Jenkins et al. 2010), and wind turbines (Loss et al. 2013). Other human-related sources of frequent raptor mortality are electrocutions on distribution lines (Lehman et al. 2007), ingestion of pesticides and other synthetics (Goldstein et al. 1999), and lead poisoning from bullet fragments and shotgun pellets in the remains of gun-killed animals (Pain et al. 2009). These last three factors involve the attraction of raptors to potentially lethal situations, and all can be remedied at their source: the first by deploying safer poles (Lehman et al. 2007), the second by substitution with safer chemicals (Oaks et al. 2004), and the third by the use of non-lead projectiles (Watson et al. 2009).


Where a lethal agent cannot be rendered harmless, however, reducing its effect on raptors must necessarily focus upon the conditions that attract raptors to its vicinity. The increasing occurrence of bladed wind-turbines in the landscape presents just such a problem in that neither their lethality nor their overall contribution to raptor mortality appear to be diminishing (Zimmerling et al. 2013, Pagel et al. 2013). Even so, large-scale wind-energy development has the potential of incrementally reducing world dependence on fossil fuels as agents of climate disruption, an adversity with profound implications for the future of raptor populations worldwide. A logical step in conservation, therefore, is to consider the factors that juxtapose raptors and wind turbines (see Marques et al. 2014). We will argue that the extensive development of wind farms should be much more closely scrutinized with respect to their placement within habitats attractive to raptors (see Marques et al. 2014). Where this consideration has been overlooked and raptor mortality is excessive, remedies may require nontraditional methods.

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