Many areas in Illinois possess winds adequate for the efficient generation of wind energy. These areas have also been documented to provide habitat for wildlife, including migratory songbirds and raptors. Avian collisions with wind turbines have been documented in the Midwest, but the frequency of those collisions is site and situation specific. Informed siting of wind turbines can minimize impacts to birds. In addition to collision risks, some grassland or open-land nesting bird species are not adapted to nesting or foraging near any tall structures, including a wind turbine, and can be displaced. Due to the potential for avian collisions with wind turbines or turbine related avian displacement from nesting areas, we conducted avian surveys to better understand the densities of birds in the Project Area, as well as the species composition. These data will help wind energy developers and resource managers to make appropriate decisions regarding the potential impacts to birds and the methods by which they might reduce those impacts.
In an effort to quantify the songbird use of the Project Area, we collected point count data to estimate migratory bird densities in early September- the end of October 2011. No Threatened or Endangered species were detected during the fall surveys in the Project Area. Several of the grassland / open land species observed in the Project Area are thought to be sensitive to the presence of tall structures in their breeding habitats, potentially forcing their displacement. Row crop agricultural fields would tend to have fewer of those species sensitive to the presence of tall structures than those species found in pastures and hayfields.