This chapter reviews the current status of bird and bat populations in the contiguous United States, along with growing concerns about declines in populations of both birds (366 [36 %] of 1027 protected migratory bird species in North America) and bats (6 of 45 species federally listed as endangered in the contiguous U.S.), many from the effects of human-made structures. Specifically, this chapter assesses the human-related causes of bird and bat mortality in the U.S. due primarily to collisions and electrocutions with tall structures and known effects of nonionizing radiation from antennas. These structural effects include impacts from power transmission and distribution lines, communication towers, commercial land-based wind turbines, and industrial solar arrays. Accepted and scientifically validated conservation measures for avoiding and minimizing direct “take” (i.e., the legal term for un-permitted injury or death) are discussed. The indirect effects to migratory birds and their habitats and direct and indirect negative impacts on bats (Microchiroptera) caused primarily by land-based wind turbines are evaluated. Suggested mitigation tools are based on innovative scientifically supported best practices, best available technologies, and accepted conservation measures. Several ongoing partnerships between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, other action agencies that implement regulations and guidelines, and industry stakeholder groups are described as examples of successful industry-agency-stakeholder coordination, partnership, and initiatives. The consequences of inaction are briefly reviewed.
Chapter from the book Problematic Wildlife: A Cross-Disciplinary Approach.