Wind power is a fast-growing energy resource, but wind turbines can kill volant wildlife, and the flight behavior of obligate soaring birds can place them at risk of collision with these structures. We analyzed altitudinal data from GPS telemetry of critically endangered California Condors (Gymnogyps californianus) to assess the circumstances under which their flight behavior may place them at risk from collision with wind turbines. Condor flight behavior was strongly influenced by topography and land cover, and birds flew at lower altitudes and closer to the rotor-swept zone of wind turbines when over ridgelines and steep slopes and over forested and grassland cover types. Condor flight behavior was temporally predictable, and birds flew lower and closer to the rotor-swept zone during early morning and evening hours and during the winter months, when thermal updrafts were weakest. Although condors only occasionally flew at altitudes that placed them in the rotor-swept zone of turbines, they regularly flew near or within wind resource areas preferred by energy developers. Practitioners aiming to mitigate collision risk to this and other soaring bird species of conservation concern can consider the manner in which flight behavior varies temporally and in response to areas of high topographic relief and proximity to nocturnal roosting sites. By contrast, collision risk to large soaring birds from turbines should be relatively lower over flatter and less rugged areas and in habitat used during daytime soaring.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 120 • No. 2