We studied the impact of a small, residential wind turbine on birds on Appledore Island, ME, to augment the limited published data on avian fatalities due to residential turbines. We conducted mortality and behavioral surveys of birds flying in the vicinity of the turbine. We did not detect any turbine-related fatalities during twice-daily surveys from fall 2007 to spring 2012, and we have only two anecdotal reports of collision events. Behavioral observations showed that the majority of birds flew below the turbine propeller (95.5%) vertically and near the turbine (53.4%) horizontally. Our behavioral surveys indicated that birds were often seen close to the monopole, but were less likely to be detected near the turbine blades compared to areas more distant from the blades. Furthermore, birds perching on and around the monopole structure provided additional anecdotal evidence of birds not avoiding the vicinity of the wind turbine. Our findings suggest a limited impact of this residential wind turbine on birds. However, we advise carefully choosing the location of a wind turbine so as to minimize potential impacts to avian populations; the turbine on Appledore Island was constructed only after extensive consideration of the possible impacts on birds at this site.
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Vol. 22 • No. 1