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1 December 2010 Night Migrant Fatalities and Obstruction Lighting at Wind Turbines in North America
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Avian collision fatality data from studies conducted at 30 wind farms across North America were examined to estimate how many night migrants collide with turbines and towers, and how aviation obstruction lighting relates to collision fatalities. Fatality rates, adjusted for scavenging and searcher efficiency, of night migrants at turbines 54 to 125 m in height ranged from <1 bird/turbine/year to ∼7 birds/turbine/year with higher rates recorded in eastern North America and lowest rates in the west. Multi-bird fatality events (defined as >3 birds killed in 1 night at 1 turbine) were rare, recorded at <0.02% (n  =  4) of ∼25,000 turbine searches. Lighting and weather conditions may have been causative factors in the four documented multi-bird fatality events, but flashing red lights (L-864, recommended by the Federal Aviation Administration [FAA]) were not involved, which is the most common obstruction lighting used at wind farms. A Wilcoxon signed-rank analysis of unadjusted fatality rates revealed no significant differences between fatality rates at turbines with FAA lights as opposed to turbines without lighting at the same wind farm.

Paul Kerlinger, Joelle L. Gehring, Wallace P. Erickson, Richard Curry, Aaftab Jain, and John Guarnaccia "Night Migrant Fatalities and Obstruction Lighting at Wind Turbines in North America," The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 122(4), 744-754, (1 December 2010).
Received: 30 May 2006; Accepted: 1 June 2010; Published: 1 December 2010

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