Environmental Studies


Radar quantifies migrant concentration and Dawn reorientation at a Great Lakes shoreline
Movement Ecology
Heist et al.
Conclusions: These findings help confirm and quantify the phenomenon of nocturnal migrant reorientation at dawn, and also stress the functional importance of coastal regions for aerial migrants. The high use of coasts by migrants highlights the importance of conserving shoreline stopover habitat, which often competes with anthropogenic uses. We suggest using a high degree of caution when assessing potential impacts from development in these sensitive environments, and encourage protection of these high-use areas.

Great Lakes Avian Radar Technical Report Lake Ontario Shoreline: Jefferson, Wayne and Niagara Counties, New York
Heist et al.
We documented clear examples of migrant activity around Lake Ontario at our study sites in Jefferson, Wayne, and Niagara Counties, and the density of targets at lower altitudes is a concern. An additional concern is that turbine height and blade length continues to grow, with that the rotor swept zone is growing as well, creating larger areas of flight risk for birds and bats passing through an area. The data we collected may be of interest to public and private entities that are involved with wind energy development and potential placement of turbines in the Great Lakes region.

Wind farms affect the occurrence, abundance and population trends of small passerine birds: The case of the Dupont’s lark
Journal of Applied Ecology
Julia Gómez‐Catasús  Vicente Garza  Juan Traba
This work highlights the negative impact of wind farms on small‐sized birds and provides a 4.5‐km threshold distance that should be taken into account in the design of future wind energy projects. Moreover, we suggest an analytical approach based on population trends, species abundance and occurrence variation in relation to wind farms, useful for the assessment of wind farm impacts on small‐sized birds.

March 2010
The Costs of Chronic Noise Exposure for Terrestrial Organisms
Jesse R. Barber, Kevin R. Crooks and Kurt M. Fristrup
Trends in Ecology and Evolution Vol.25 No.3
Growth in transportation networks, resource extraction, motorized recreation and urban development is responsible for chronic noise exposure in most terrestrial areas, including remote wilderness sites. Increased noise levels reduce the distance and area over which acoustic signals can be perceived by animals. Here, we review a broad range of findings that indicate the potential severity of this threat to diverse taxa, and recent studies that document substantial changes in foraging and anti-predator behavior, reproductive success, density and community structure in response to noise. Effective management of protected areas must include noise assessment, and research is needed to further quantify the ecological consequences of chronic noise exposure in terrestrial environments.

The Effects of Chronic Moderate Noise on Animal Behavior and Distribution
Acoustic Ecology Institute
Jim Cummings
Most studies address traffic noise or oil and gas development noise, rather than wind farm sounds. While not ideal, like turbine sounds these are predominantly low frequency, with broadband components; received levels in the studies vary, but generally range from levels consistent with inside wind farms to levels likely to occur at distances similar to those at nearby homes (1200-1500ft)

Great Lakes Avian Radar Technical Report Niagara, Genesee, Wayne and Jefferson Counties, New York
Gosse, Rathbun et al.
Our data demonstrate that the shoreline areas of Lake Ontario are important for migrating birds and bats. We have identified behaviors that concentrate migrants along the shoreline, demonstrated that these behaviors occur regularly throughout the season, and established that migrants are flying at altitudes that place them at risk of collision with current or future wind energy development in the area. The importance of shoreline areas, as revealed by our study, highlight the need to avoid these areas as migration corridors as recommended in the Service’s Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines (USFWS 2012).

Human Noise Robs Owls Their Ability to Hunt
John R. Platt
Many birds of prey use acute auditory signals to find their prey. Noise generated by human activity can impact owls’ ability to hunt by increasing their hunting search times. Noisy areas may be completely avoided, thus reducing the size of their suitable habitat.


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