Researchers aim to lessen clash between raptors, wind turbines

nature

Quixotes Last Stand

Phys.org — April 20, 2012

Golden eagles love Pennsylvania’s ridge-and-valley region. The hunched-up topography, with its long linear corridors running southwest to northeast, makes a perfect thruway for their spring and fall migrations. Sustained updrafts along the ridge crests are a particular boon to these and other large raptors, who rely on lift for soaring long distances.

According to wildlife biologist and Penn State doctoral candidate Trish Miller, those same ridges are perfect for generating wind energy. Unfortunately, birds and wind turbines don’t always get along.

In northern California, where wind power is prevalent, the clash is a deadly one: at Altamont Pass, a large wind farm near San Francisco, 65-70 golden eagles are felled every year, Miller noted. A new, taller generation of turbines has bettered the chances for some species but not the aerial hunters, who fly relatively high and focused on their prey.

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