As wind turbine‐caused mortality of birds and bats increases with increasing wind energy capacity, accurate fatality estimates are needed to assess effects, identify collision factors, and formulate mitigation. Finding a larger proportion of collision victims reduces the magnitude of adjustment for the proportion not found, thus reducing opportunities for bias. We tested detection dogs in trials of bat and small‐bird carcasses placed randomly in routine fatality monitoring at the Buena Vista and Golden Hills Wind Energy projects, California, USA, 2017. Of trial carcasses placed and confirmed available before next‐day fatality searches, dogs detected 96% of bats and 90% of small birds, whereas humans at a neighboring wind project detected 6% of bats and 30% of small birds. At Golden Hills dogs found 71 bat fatalities in 55 searches compared to 1 bat found by humans in 69 searches within the same search plots over the same season. Dog detection rates of trial carcasses remained unchanged with distance from turbine, and dogs found more fatalities than did humans at greater distances from turbines. Patterns of fatalities found by dogs within search plots indicated 20% of birds and 4–14% of bats remained undetected outside search plots at Buena Vista and Golden Hills. Dogs also increased estimates of carcass persistence by finding detection trial carcasses that the trial administrator had erroneously concluded were removed. Compared to human searches, dog searches resulted in fatality estimates up to 6.4 and 2.7 times higher for bats and small birds, respectively, along with higher relative precision and >90% lower cost per fatality detection.