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1 May 2011 Effects of Weather on Avian Migration at Proposed Ridgeline Wind Energy Sites
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With the popularity of wind energy increasing globally, concerns surfaced in the 1980s as to the potential adverse effects of wind turbines on migrating birds. Understanding how weather conditions influence passage rates can help determine the potential for increased avian-turbine collisions. Using vertical and horizontal mounted marine radars, raptor stand watch observations, and portable handheld weather stations, we studied how temperature, cloud cover, barometric pressure, wind direction, and wind speed affected avian passage rates and height of migrants over 3 ridges (Wartenbe, North Dokie, and South Dokie) being developed for wind energy in northern British Columbia. Using an Akaike's Information Criterion (AIC), we determined that a reduced model combining wind speed, barometric pressure, and cloud cover was best at explaining and predicting higher passage rates (expressed as no. birds/hr) in the fall migration for both diurnal and nocturnal migrants. Wind speed proved the most important predictor of passage rates for spring nocturnal migrants and a combination of cloud cover, temperature, and wind direction for diurnal spring migrants. Wind speed also predicted decreases in flight altitude among nocturnal migrants but increased altitude in diurnal migrants. This information coupled with migration timing and topographical areas of higher migrant activity can be useful to wind energy proponents who wish to mitigate collision risk with migrating birds.

© 2011 The Wildlife Society.
Philippe J. Thomas, Adrienne K. Labrosse, Andrea C. Pomeroy, and Ken A. Otter "Effects of Weather on Avian Migration at Proposed Ridgeline Wind Energy Sites," Journal of Wildlife Management 75(4), 805-815, (1 May 2011).
Received: 4 December 2009; Accepted: 1 September 2010; Published: 1 May 2011

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