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How prairie birds respond to wind turbines

Cara J

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While several studies have highlighted the direct impact of renewable energy infrastructure on North American birds — think birds colliding with turbines, for instance — researchers don’t know as much about its indirect effects on the region’s avian species including prairie birds. In an effort to address that knowledge gap, researchers recently examined the reproductive success of horned larks (Eremophila alpestris) and McCown’s longspurs (Rhynchophanes mccownii) in Wyoming. The study was part of a special section in the journal The Condor: Ornithological Applications that also looked at the effects of oil and gas development in Alberta and the Northwest Territories on Canada’s boreal birds, the risk that wind towers in the Great Plains pose to wintering sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis), and the behavior of migrating raptors in response to power line construction. When Wind Blows Through the Prairie Horned lark chicks in their nest. Image courtesy of Anika Mahoney. Horned larks and McCown’s longspurs both use short, sparse vegetation, however, other habitat preferences led researchers to believe that the birds potentially respond differently to wind energy development. While horned larks are often found along roadsides or agricultural lands, McCown’s longspurs choose sparse vegetation and habitat that’s less impacted by human activities. One [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/how-prairie-birds-respond-to-wind-turbines/

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