Phase I Avian Risk Assessment for the James Madison University-NASA Wind Power Project, Wallops Island

, Accomack County, Virginia

September 2004


Report Prepared for:

Report Prepared by: Curry & Kerlinger, L.L.C.

Paul Kerlinger, Ph.D Curry & Kerlinger, L.L.C. P.O. Box 453 Cape May Point, NJ 08212 (609) 884-2842, fax 884-4569 email:

JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment - Kerlinger

Phase I Avian Risk Assessment for the James Madison University-NASA Wind Power Project, Wallops Island, Accomack County, Virginia
Executive Summary One or two, utility scale wind turbines are proposed for the Wallops Island – NASA facility in Accomack County, Virginia. The project is a joint effort between James Madison University and NASA, hereafter referred to as the JMU-NASA Wind Power Project. Each wind turbine would generate about 1.0 or slightly greater power, totaling at least 1.0+ to 2.0+ megawatts of generating capacity. Tower (tubular) heights would be about 60 meters (197 feet) range, with rotor lengths of 26 m (85 feet). Minimum and maximum heights of the rotor tip when the rotor is in the 12 o’clock position would be about 86 m (282 feet) AGL. The turbines would be located at two potential sites (Figure 1), separated by about 3.7 miles (5.9 km), with one on Wallops Island and the other on the mainland. This report details a Phase I Avian Risk Assessment for wind power development. It includes a literature review, interviews with local and regional experts (agency staff, environmental organizations, and local birders), and a site visit (August 10-11, 2004) during which habitat and birds present were examined. Together, these sources of information provide an indication of the type and number of birds that are known or suspected to use a project site and the area surrounding that site. This information is then used to determine the degree of risk to birds, if any, from wind power development at a particular site. In addition, the concerns of regulators and environmental organizations were determined (PENDING) and incorporated into the risk assessment. Two turbine sites, each with 1 turbine are proposed. Site #1 on Wallops Island is a grassy field surrounded by small forest patches, small buildings, an observation tower, and a radar station. It is immediately adjacent to extensive salt marshes and about 1/3 of a mile (0.5 km) from the barrier beach. Although the immediate site is not sensitive habitat, the turbine would be surrounded by prime avian habitat. Site #2 is on the mainland, at the Wallops Island Flight Center. Although it is adjacent to extensive salt marshes, it is on a more developed site and is also adjacent to farm land. The site itself is not sensitive habitat, although the marshes to the east of the site and small forests nearby are excellent bird habitat. A letter from U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service is pending, as is a letter from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Natural Heritage program. The literature and database review and interviews with experts (PENDING) indicated that during the nesting season there are two federally listed species may be nest near one of the two turbine sites (Bald Eagle and Piping Plover). Risk to these species is probably minimal because neither will likely use either site to forage or roost. No state or federally listed endangered species is likely to nest on or near the site. Peregrine Falcon, a Virginia threatened species, nests within a few hundred

Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger, LLC – draft – 9-04


JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment - Kerlinger meters of Site #1 at a tower in the marsh. Several state species of concern were found to nest near or in the vicinity of Site #1 and to a lesser extent Site #2. The habitat at the two turbine sites is disturbed and does not support a wide variety of species. The birds that nest, migrate and make stopovers in the adjacent habitats, and wintering birds are very diverse and numerous, indicating that the general area is a very important area for birds. Extraordinarily large numbers of migrating raptors, waterfowl, shorebirds, other waterbirds, and songbirds migrate through the general, as well as winter in the area. Nearby there is a globally significant flightlines for fall migrating Peregrine Falcons, Merlins, and some other species. The area is known for its waterfowl and shorebird migrations, which classify as world class. The migrations of these species are the reason so many national and state wildlife management areas, wildlife refuges, and even a national seashore are present nearby acting as ecological magnets for these species. Together these facts strongly suggest that the two project sites will have significant bird use. Site #2 is likely to have less bird use because it is located away from the barrier island and marsh, as well as the ocean. The following recommendations are made: Electrical lines from the turbines to nearby transmission/distribution lines should be underground to the degree possible and all new above ground wires leading from the site and substations, should have specifications that follow APLIC (Avian Power Line Interaction Committee) guidelines. Permanent meteorology towers, if needed, should be free-standing and unguyed to prevent the potential for avian collisions. Turbine pads and roads to those pads should be minimal in size to minimize habitat impact, and after construction disturbed habitats should be restored to the extent possible. Lighting should be minimal at the turbines and nearby infrastructure to minimize or eliminate attraction of night migrating songbirds and similar species. Sodium vapor lamps and spotlights should not be used near turbines. FAA lighting for night use should only be flashing lights (L-864 red or white) with the longest possible off cycle permissible and no steady burning (L-810) FAA lights should be used. A post-construction study of collision fatalities would be helpful to potential site expansion and future wind power development in coastal areas of the Eastern Shore. Because federal and Virginia listed species occur in the general area, especially the eastern site (Site #1), a detailed nesting bird survey and use study should be conducted to determine whether such species might be at risk and estimate the potential risk to those species in terms of biological significance. Meet with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (and perhaps Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation) to determine what they will be requesting/requiring with respect to studies and their new interim and voluntary guidelines for wind power

Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger, LLC – draft – 9-04


JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment - Kerlinger development. Such a meeting would involve potential Section 7 ESA consultation and a discussion of the expected scope of work. Based on what is known about risks to birds at wind power plants in North America and Europe, and what was learned from the literature search, site visits, and interviews, it is likely that the JPU-NASA project will have a greater collision impact to birds on a per turbine per year basis than has been found at most other wind power projects. It is also relevant that a federally threatened species, the Piping Plover, nests near Site #1 and there are various Virginia endangered, threatened, and species of concerned that use the general area around the Project site on a regular basis, suggesting possible impacts to these species. The eastern turbine site is likely to have greater impacts on birds than the western turbine because it is located in an area where there is likely to be far more waterbird and other avian traffic. The issue of biological significance should be addressed more closely, especially in light of the prevalence of various waterbirds, night migrating songbirds, and raptors that use the site and nearby habitats.

Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger, LLC – draft – 9-04


JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment - Kerlinger


A one or two unit wind power project has been proposed for two sites in on the Wallops Island Flight Center and NASA center on Accomack Island, Virginia (Figure 1). The project has been named the JMU – NASA Wind Power Project. Although wind power is considered the most environmentally benign source of electrical power generation, birds and some other wildlife have been impacted at wind power projects in the United States and Europe. These impacts have raised concern regarding newly proposed wind power facilities. Reported impacts to birds include collision fatalities and habitat modification/fragmentation resulting from construction activities and new infrastructure that causes birds to avoid or be displaced from a site. This report details a Phase I Avian Risk Assessment that determines the potential risks to birds at a proposed wind power project. Thus, the Phase I Assessment is designed to guide developers, regulators, environmentalists, and other stakeholders through the process of determining the degree of risk at a particular site and how impacts or potential impacts, if any are perceived, need to be studied in more detail. The initial assessment includes: (i) a site visit, (ii) a literature search, and (iii) interviews with avian experts, environmentalists, and regulators. In addition, the risk assessment report includes an appendix that addresses compliance issues and recommendations now being made by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service via their “interim” and “voluntary” guidelines for wind power projects (U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2003). The site visit is made by a trained avian technician with experience in identification of birds and their habitats. The site and surrounding area are walked and toured by automobile. During the visit, habitat and topography are examined and the avifauna present is observed. The site visit is not meant to be an inventory of birds on the project site. Instead, the purpose of the site visit is to evaluate habitat and topographic features so that a list of species that might be present may be assembled and the potential for risk to those birds assessed. The literature and database search includes examination of U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service records (Pending) and New Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Heritage Program databases, Audubon Christmas Bird Counts, hawk migration literature/newsletters (Hawk Migration Association of North America), USGS Breeding Bird Surveys, Important Bird Areas projects, and other information on birds that might nest, migrate, forage, winter, or concentrate at the site. Interviews vary depending on who is being interviewed. Most interviews consist of a series of questions (Appendix I) asked of regulators (US Fish and Wildlife Service and Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation nongame/game biologists), avian experts (university professors, amateur and professional ornithologists who observe hawk migration, nesting songbirds, waterfowl, etc.), and environmentalists (local Audubon chapters, etc.) and Important Bird Areas programs). Information from these diverse sources are then integrated into a report like the one that follows, summarizing habitat and birds likely to be present at a site, potential

Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger, LLC – draft – 9-04


Maximum height of the rotor tip when the rotor is in the 12 o’clock position would be about 86 m (282 feet) AGL. The two turbine sites are situated in eastern Accomack County (Figure 1). and some listed species other than birds. although there are small sand dunes nearby.Kerlinger risk of wind turbine construction at the site. and recommendations for further studies and mitigation. Virginia. LLC – draft – 9-04 6 .JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . a comparison the project site with other sites where risk has been determined. Both have been planted in grasses and there are numerous buildings and other structures located very close to where the turbines would be located. The area surrounding Site #1is virtually flat. therefore. Farmland has encroached on native forest and even low-lying areas to the west of the back bays. salt marsh. Tilled agriculture commences just inland from the back bays. The JMU – NASA wind power energy project would consist of one or two wind turbine generators that would produce a total of about 1+ to 2+ megawatts of generating capacity. with only a few feet of relief nearby. The original forests no longer exist. the bird communities and species that are likely to be present. The topography at and near the two potential turbine sites is relatively flat. Site #2 is on the mainland. several texts were examined to determine the type of habitat known to be present in the general vicinity of the proposed wind turbines and. although the interconnect may be above ground to existing transmission lines. It is likely that the lighting would be red strobes (L-864) on top of the nacelle at about 61-62 m (~200 foot) AGL. with rotor lengths of about 26 m (85 feet). In addition. wetlands. and habitat of the site was first gathered using a 1:24. The tubular tower for the turbines would be about 60 meters (197 feet) in height. The habitat at the two sites is part of the coastal habitats of the eastern shore of Virginia. and later from ground truthing via a site visit during summer 2004. dune forest. Project Description. near the Atlantic Ocean and back bays. if indicated. although the site could accommodate more turbines. On the barrier island and mainland roads form a network that has dissected many habitats. Topographic/Physiographic and Habitat Description of Atlantic Coastal Accomack County. physiography. some freshwater marsh in places. Accomack County is in the coastal plain of Virginia. The habitats at both Site #1 and #2 have been modified greatly and neither now resembles a natural habitat. Site #2 is also nearly flat. pine barrens. and some other habitats. Sites #1 and #2 are only a few feet above sea level. and the JMU-NASA Project Site Information regarding topography. this report includes information on sensitive habitats. Other turbines with similar or larger dimensions are being considered. The turbines would be located at 2 separate sites (Figure 1).000 USGS topographic map. about the same distance from the marshes behind the barrier islands. In addition to the avian risk assessment. The turbines would likely be lighted according to the Federal Aviation Administration regulations. The eastern site is on a barrier island that is only a few miles wide and less than about ½ mile (<1 km) from the Atlantic Ocean. dune. These habitats include beach. The electrical collection system lines within the project area might be underground. although in places remnant forests continue to thrive. mixed forest. Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger.

red maple. despite being fragmented are considered good quality habitat for migrating song and other birds. for which the habitat quality appeared to be excellent. sassafras. sweet gum. sassafras. and some poison ivy make for a dense understory and climb to more than 10-15 feet high (3-5 m). black willow and eastern red cedar. A few ponds exist with this non saltmarsh vegetation around the edges. Observing habitat and birds was unimpeded by weather. The trees and shrubs were black cherry. During the visit. black tupelo. Nearby there are some large. The habitat is severely fragmented at and around the project site. Trees present were loblolly. The flat terrain permitted excellent views of the surrounding habitat and the two turbine sites. In the Atlantic coastal zone. Accomack County. Site #2 is located west of the back bays and extensive salt marshes. black tupelo. Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. and some winged sumac. bigtooth aspen.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . ash. LLC – draft – 9-04 7 . wild grape. such forests. The trees there were loblolly pine. hackberry. In addition. buildings. eastern red cedar and loblolly pine. These forests are not large. The proposed turbine area is bordered on the west and south by large farm fields (probably soybeans or some other legume). and determine what birds or ornithological phenomena might be present on site or nearby. The forest is typical coastal forest of the mid-Atlantic. Surrounding the lawn is a mixed pine-deciduous forest and associated thickets. sweet gum. out in the salt marsh. around the project site during the site visit. with the exception of the salt marsh. 2004. and a few stands of black willow. the area surrounding the site was toured by automobile. and walking. Greenbrier. The area is mostly wide. There were also several islands of trees to the northeast of the site. sweet bay magnolia. bordering the salt marsh and buildings. marshy areas with Phragmites (indicating it is not salt marsh) and lesser amounts of cattail. It is likely that all such habitat along the eastern shore of Virginia is used by migrants and considered high quality habitat for such species. winged sumac. red maple. The site consisted of a lawn. It is likely that these forests are important to migrating songbirds because they are portions of a previously much larger and unfragmented forest. there were observation towers from which the area around Sites #1 and #2 could be examined from above. There were also some large ponds and shrubby thickets. marsh elder. Site Visit to the JMU – NASA Wind Power Project Site. black cherry. In addition to driving. and eastern red cedar. sassafras. Virginia creeper. Virginia The JMU – NASA Wind Power Project site was visited August 10 and 11. There are also dense thickets of southern bayberry. West of the turbine site there are vast salt marshes with tidal mudflats and creeks scattered throughout. The site is bordered to the east by extensive salt marshes.Kerlinger The habitat at Site #1 is a lawn-like field with several buildings and an observation tower. permitting observations of all of the project site. black willow. southern red oak. These latter patches are behind the dunes to the east of the turbine site. These were dominated by loblolly pine and some deciduous trees. marsh elder. with a mixture of northern and more southern trees. The weather during the site visit was warm and relatively clear. southern bayberry. a radar installation. thereby concentrating migrants into very small areas where they are observed by birders. an effort was made to observe the bird life and habitat on and adjacent to the site. There was a more substantial forest on the southwest side of Site #2. black cherry. tulip tree (yellow poplar). and other infrastructure. but they are dense.

Killdeer(1&2) . Royal Tern (125 birds. Site 1). Blue Jay (2). Sites 1&2). Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. Great Egret (SC . These include species that nest locally and migrants. Carolina Chickadee (1&2). 2004. Sites 1&2). The first number is the number seen for species of greater interest and the second number(s) denotes Site 1 and. Whimbrel (10 birds. Eastern Bluebird (2). Prothonotary Warbler (1). Site 1). American Redstart (6 birds. 4 birds. Least Flycatcher. Site 1). Mourning Dove (1&2). Northern Cardinal (1&2). Red-eyed Vireo (1). T = Virginia threatened. dowitcher. Willet (1). Red-winged Blackbird (1&2). Black-and-white Warbler (4 birds. and many other species do not nest nearby. There were also several Osprey nests within view. SC = Virginia Species of Concern. and some other species. Common Yellowthroat (1&2). Sandwich Tern (SC . Great Black-backed Gull (1).50+ – 1). Thus. Sites 1&2).1).1). The following species were seen on the project site at Sites 1 and 2. LLC – draft – 9-04 8 . House Wren (1&2). Turkey Vulture(1&2) . American Goldfinch (1&2). Tree Swallow (400 birds. Spotted Sandpiper (1). Site 1). Song Sparrow (1).1). Northern Waterthrush (1). Rock Dove (1&2). For example. 1 juvenal. Yellow Warbler (1&2). Red-tailed Hawk (1&2).1&2). American Crow (1&2) . Eastern Towhee (1&2). Northern Waterthrush. A Peregrine Falcon (Virginia threatened) hack site/nest platform was located in the marsh to the northwest of the proposed turbine site at Site #1. Blue-winged Warbler (1). US-T = federally threatened. Northern Rough-winged Swallow (1). Great Blue Heron (1 & 2). Brown Pelican (SC .1&2). Black Vulture(1&2) . The birds listed in the above paragraph are a combination of species that nest locally. Stilt Sandpiper (130 birds. as well as Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger.1 adult. Seaside Sparrow (1). Northern Mockingbird (1&2). House Finch (1&2). Green Heron (1). and waterfowl. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (8 birds. Sites 1&2). Bank Swallow (1). Yellow-billed Cuckoo (1&2). Carolina Wren (1&2 . Mallard (1). Orchard Oriole (5 birds. Ruby-throated Hummingbird (1). Blue Grosbeak (1&2). Fish Crow (1&2). Brown-headed Cowbird (1). Pine Warbler (1&2). but was slightly early in the post-breeding season for autumn migrations of songbirds. Northern Flicker (1&2). Herring Gull (1&2). Western Sandpiper (1). Eastern Meadowlark (1&2).3 birds. Sanderling (1). Site 1). Ring-billed Gull (1).1&2). Cattle Egret (1). Site 1). Ruddy Turnstone (1). or Site 2. Belted Kingfisher (1). Barn Swallow (1&2). Lesser Yellowlegs (1). Great-crested Flycatcher (1&2). Least Flycatcher (1). American Black Duck (1&2). Canada Goose (1&2). Northern Gannet (1). Common Grackle (1&2). Purple Martin (1&2). White-eyed Vireo (1&2). Peregrine Falcon (SC . Eastern Kingbird (20 birds. Clapper Rail (1&2). Site 1). Forster’s Tern (SC 1&2). At the time of the site visit. Chimney Swift (2). as well as a fairly large number of migrants. Piping Plover (US – T. Site 1). Greater Yellowlegs (1&2). southbound migration had commenced among most shorebirds.1). Boat-tailed Grackle (1&2). Downy Woodpecker (1&2). Black Skimmer (1). American Robin (2). Snowy Egret (1&2). European Starling (1&2). The site visit coincides with the shorebird migration season. Gray Catbird (1&2). the list provided above includes species that nested near the two turbine sites. other shorebirds. Indigo Bunting (1&2). hawks. Site 1). Black-crowned Night-heron (1). Sanderling. Northern Harrier (SC . Osprey (1&2). Semipalmated Sandpiper (1). Common Tern (1). Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (SC . Cedar Waxwing (1). Double-crested Cormorant (1). Eastern Wood-Pewee (1). Short-billed Dowitcher (1).JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . Chipping Sparrow (1&2). Black-bellied Plover (1). Semi-palmated Sandpiper (400 birds. Prairie Warbler (1). Worm-eating Warbler. American Oystercatcher (1). Glossy Ibis (SC . Little Blue Heron (SC . Worm-eating Warbler (1). many songbirds. Laughing Gull (1&2).Kerlinger A total of 108 bird species were observed during the site visit on August 10-11. Least Tern (SC . Tri-colored Heron (SC .

Four individuals of this species were observed on the beaches adjacent to turbine Site #1 and likely nest nearby. as well as a list of species of special concern (Table 1). the bird observed was probably a migrant. Several Virginia listed species (threatened and species of special concern) were observed during the site visit (see list in previous section). The species is known to nest at either higher elevations or higher latitudes in northern temperate to boreal forests rather than coastal lowlands. A nest box was visible in the salt marsh behind the barrier island. Fish and Wildlife Service. and Glossy Ibis. Other data bases examined for this risk assessment were the USGS Breeding Bird Surveys (BBS). Little Blue Heron. All of the terns are likely to fly over Site #1 regularly. The habits of Piping Plovers generally keep them right on the beaches where they forage. In addition. all of these species. This species is not likely to be within 100 m of turbine Site #1 and is unlikely to be within a mile of turbine Site #2. Seven of these species (Brown Pelican. Peregrine Falcon (VA threatened) nests very close to turbine Site #1. S. Tricolored Heron. S. All of these species are associated with wetlands and water. In addition. It should be noted that Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. except Sandwich Tern and Forster’s Tern nest in Accomack County. Forster’s Tern. The habitat where the two turbines would be located is not suitable for federally endangered or threatened species. a Virginia species of concern was observed during the site visit but that bird was undoubtedly a migrant from much farther north. LLC – draft – 9-04 9 . Three Northern Harriers were observed and may be present at either of the turbine sites. Sandwich Tern. It is likely that despite not nesting in Accomack County. and could be present at either of the turbine sites. Sandwich Tern and Forster’s Tern are present in this county regularly. it is also possible that Bald Eagles could fly over either turbine site. They would be unlikely to forage frequently on the two project sites because of the infrastructure present. but less often (perhaps rarely) will they fly over Site #2. Pelicans would not likely be seen flying over Site #2. Interviews. This would suggest they are present regularly. Letters from the latter two agencies are Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. Therefore. and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation – Natural Heritage. Eight Virginia species of concern were also found. According to the Virginia Natural Heritage program.Kerlinger birds coming in from as far away as the tundra of northern Canada and the Canadian boreal forest. the U. Fish and Wildlife Service has a list of federally endangered and threatened species that are known to occur in the state of Virginia (also see Table 1). with Site #2 being more likely to have overflights.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . fly over Site #1. However. plovers could on rare occasions. although Site #1 is within about ½ mile (~1 km) of suitable habitat for Piping Plover. the U. perhaps during migration or dispersal. although they probably fly over or around these two sites regularly. Avian Overview (Literature Review. No Virginia endangered species were observered. roost. a federally threatened species (also Virginia threatened) that nests on barrier beaches and adjacent dunes. Least Tern) are colonial nesters. Habitat Assessment) Nesting Birds The state of Virginia has a list of endangered and threatened bird species. and nest. They also nest within Accomack County and could easily nest near the project sites.

and Forster’s Tern). a federally threatened species.25 miles (0. and Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. or permits to erect the turbines are likely to be required.Kerlinger pending. LLC – draft – 9-04 10 . and to a lesser extent Site #2. These were the closest BBS routes to the Project site. unfortunately. were limited to mostly terrestrial habitats and did not include the barrier islands or back bay areas to any great degree. This biased those surveys toward terrestrial habitats away from back bays and open water. numbers of species found. Any and all of these species could be found nesting and foraging near Site #1. There are also likely to be large numbers of rails (mostly clappers. A BBS is a 24. Also present are likely to be several colonies of egrets of various species and ibis (some are species of concern) nesting nearby. commencing in 1993. The 4 BBS routes included 5 to 9 years of data each from the 10 year period examined. was found nesting on two of the BBS routes. This means that there are tens of thousands of these birds feeding. as well as presence of endangered and threatened species found on the four Breeding Bird Surveys used in this analysis are summarized in Tables 2 and 3. Swainson’s Warbler requires freshwater forested wetlands/swamp forest. so it would not likely be found at or immediately adjacent to either of the turbine sites. Some survey routes crossed county borders. traversing. Piping Plover. songbirds.4 km) road survey of nesting birds. It is important to note that there are numerous tern (species of concern and not listed species). and Worcester and Somerset Counties in adjacent Maryland. These BBS routes were located in Accomack County in Virginia. but only in one year on each. The Breeding Bird Survey is sponsored by the United States Geological Survey and is conducted each year. Four of these were colonial waterbirds (Great Egret. Together these four routes.4 km) are recorded. although some Black Rails – Virginia species of concern) nesting in nearby marshes. colonies along the barrier islands of Maryland and Virginia. The BBSs revealed a broad diversity of species including colonial nesting waterbirds. gull. Little Blue Heron. raptors. Bald Eagle. Four Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) routes were used to evaluate risk to nesting birds at the JMU – NASA Wind Power Project (Table 2).5 mile (39. Their letters should be one of the topics covered at that meeting. The survey is repeated several times each spring during the nesting season. although several 7 species of special concern were found. and others. Because federal and. Two of the other species are marsh (Northern Harrier. with the Chincoteague BBS being the closest.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . three minute stops are made at 0. The last species. Data from a ten-year period was examined. The surveys. No state threatened species were found on the BBS routes. Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow) or grassland (Northern Harrier) dwelling species.8 km) intervals during which all birds seen or heard within 0. The years surveys were done. A meeting with these agencies is recommended. No federally or Virginia endangered species were found (Table 3) on any of the BBS routes. skimmer. Fifty. when combined with data from the site visit and other databases provide robust information regarding the birds likely to nest within the project boundaries and potentially impacted by the Project.5 mile (0. Glossy Ibis.

Species in bold face are listed by the state of Virginia as nesting in Accomack County. of Conservation and Recreation website. threatened. T Northern Harrier – SC Peregrine Falcon . Endangered/Threatened Species Brown Pelican – SC Great Egret – SC Little Blue Heron – SC Tricolored Heron .SC Common Moorhen – SC Bald Eagle – US-T. All of these birds wander in the general area of the JMU – NASA project site and.SC Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. T & E = threatened or endangered in Virginia. List of federal and Virginia endangered.SC Red-breasted Nuthatch . US = federal designation.SC Northern Saw-whet Owl – SC Red-cockaded Woodpecker – US-E.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment .E Upland Sandpiper – T Least Tern – SC Caspian Tern – SC Forster’s Tern* . T Wilson’s Plover .SC Winter Wren . LLC – draft – 9-04 11 . at times.SC Yellow-crowned Night-heron – SC Glossy Ibis .SC Hermit Thrush – SC Loggerhead Shrike – T Appalachian Bewick’s Wren – E Sedge Wren . SC = Species of Concern in Virgina. Table 1. Species noted with an asterisk are Virginia Watch List Species that are also listed by the state as of special concern.T Piping Plover – US-T. The remaining Watch Listed species for Virginia can be found on their Natural Heritage pages of the Virginia Dept.SC Roseate Tern – US-E. E Yellow-bellied Flycatcher – SC Alder Flycatcher . and species of special concern.SC Barn Owl* .SC Golden-crowned Kinglet – SC Brown Creeper* . E Gull-billed Tern – T Sandwich Tern .Kerlinger roosting in these areas. will cross the areas where the two turbines are proposed to be constructed.

SC Kirtland’s Warber – US-E Magnolia Warbler .JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment .Kerlinger Swainson’s Warbler – SC Golden-winged Warbler* . Accomack County.SC Red Crossbill – SC Table 2.SC Bachman’s Sparrow – T Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow – SC Henslow’s Sparrow – T Purple Finch – SC Dickcissel* . VA 3 miles (4.8 km) northeast of project Number of Species (Min-Max) 76 – 83 Species 64 – 87 Species 41 – 62 Species 59 – 72 Species Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. LLC – draft – 9-04 12 . VA 27 miles (43 km) south-southwest of project #88916 – Chincoteague (9 years) Accomack County. Virginia (1994-2003) to determine the likelihood of presence of Virginia and federally listed species and species of concern.SC Mourning Warbler . Breeding Bird Survey (Years) #46149 – Berlin (7 years) Worcester County. MD 35 miles (56 km) north-northeast of project #46150 – Indiantown (9 years) Worcester/Somerset Counties. MD 23 miles (37 km) north of project #88032 – Quinby (5 years) Accomack County. USGS Breeding Bird Surveys examined for the JMU – NASA Wind Power Project.

Also listed is the number of probable territories on a specific Breeding Bird Survey. and VA-SC = Virginia Species of Special Concern.VA-SC Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow – VA-SC Swainson’s Warbler – VA-SC Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. Accomack County.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . LLC – draft – 9-04 13 . US-T = federally threatened. Virginia and federally listed species found on USGS Breeding Bird Surveys nearest the JMU – NASA Wind Power Project. Virginia. VA-T = Virginia Threatened. Species Breeding Bird Survey Name / Maximum Number of Pairs (Number of Years Found) Berlin / 1 (2 years) Chincoteague / 18 (8 years) Quinby / 4 (3 years) Indiantown / 1 (1 year) Chincoteague / 2 (3 years0 Quinby / 2 (1 year) Indiantown / 2 (3 years) Berlin / 7 (3 years) Chincoteague / 130 (9 years) Indiantown / 1 (3 years) Chincoteague / 1 (1 year) Indiantown / 1 (1 year) Chincoteague / 3 (2 years) Chincoteague / 2 (4 years) Chincoteague / 4 (8 years) Indiantown / 1 (4 years) Great Egret – VA-SC Little Blue Heron – VA-SC Glossy Ibis – VA-SC Bald Eagle – US-T Northern Harrier – VA-SC Forster’s Tern . VA-E = Virginia Endangered.Kerlinger Table 3.

they must fly in from overland or from over the ocean. Although there are few references in the literature that pertain specifically to night migrating songbirds through the eastern shore of Virginia. shorebirds. including the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts have shown that the habitats immediately adjacent to these large bodies of water are critical stopover locations for night migrating songbirds (Wiedner et al. and. Nocturnal Songbird Migration. other waterbirds. The reason for the concentrations of migrating birds is related to: • • • • Geography – midway along the Altantic Coast between nesting and wintering areas. Some habitats like forests are isolated making them the only habitat for many miles around for some species of birds. It is well known that waterfowl. (1993) and Mabey et al. who mentioned that several people were apparently collaborating on coastal migration studies using NEXRAD radar. That information came from Dr. Hawk migration in the eastern shore of Virginia peninsula and adjacent coastal Maryland is rather well known and has been studied to some extent for many years. For habitats within the first few miles of the Atlantic Ocean on the eastern shore of Virginia and Maryland. the best data. Most of the formal studies. it became known to Curry & Kerlinger. LLC – draft – 9-04 14 . but there are still significant migrations of birds through or past the peninsula in spring. especially for southbound migrants during the post-nesting season. Studies in many coastal locations. For birds to get to these habitats. 1990. this has been demonstrated via large scale studies (McCann et al. 1993). (1993) studies are almost site specific and there is no doubt that they are applicable to both turbine Site #1 and #2 at the JMU – NASA Wind Power Project. songbirds.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . This means that very large numbers of birds almost certainly make fly over the coastal habitats of the eastern shore of Virginia and make stopovers in those habitats. Mabey et al.Kerlinger Migrating Birds The eastern shore of Virginia and parts of Accomack County are known to host enormous migrations of a diversity of bird species. and McCann et al. The following sections address the different migrations that are known to occur in the eastern Shore Peninsula. Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. LLC. and raptors stopover in or migrate through portions of this peninsula in numbers that are globally significant. The return migration does not seem to be as large. While searching the literature and researching the JMU – NASA site. birders know that the peninsula is an important stopover area for these birds. Gauthreaux of Clemson University. Sidney A. have been done have been at Cape Charles/Kiptopeke State Park at the southern terminus of the eastern shore peninsula and on Assateague Island/Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. The fact that the peninsula acts as a funnel. 1993). that radar studies were now being done in the Wallops Island area to examine stopover habitat of night migrating songbirds. Excellent habitat. Information from that study would be very useful for examining Hawk Migration in Accomack County and the JMU – NASA Wind Power Project Site. and therefore. 1992. The McCann et al. Moore et al. 1993.

Waterbirds. Ironically. ospreys. and to a lesser extent buteos. 1986). Waterfowl. Such topography has been shown to concentrate migrants along lakeshores and large marshes/back bays (Heintzelman 1975. Bellrose (1976) also lists the eastern shore of Maryland and Virginia as one of the most important waterfowl migration/wintering areas in North America. geese. although counts have been difficult to locate. An average of about 20. coastal reserve islands. citing various experts who have reported on this topic. Heintzelman’s volumes (1975. Kerlinger 1989). making the entire area surrounding the JMU – NASA project site a very “birdy” area.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . especially to falconers. waterbirds. harriers. hopping to other islands as they move southward.Kerlinger An examination of the Hawks Aloft Worldwide (Zalles and Bildstein 2000). Johnston notes that large numbers of shorebirds arrive in mid-late summer and use the saltmarshes and barrier islands. and Shorebirds. The return migration in spring is less visible and in all likelihood mostly precedes farther inland. The plethora of other migrating birds is what attracts these birds to this area as a stopover site. and swans migrate through the coastal marshes in very large numbers. It is likely that several hundred Peregrine Falcons. Assateague. probably many millions during an autumn migration Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. These areas serve as feeding and resting areas for these birds. Other species are also involved. and journals of the Hawk Migration Association revealed significant hawk migration sites at the bottom of the peninsula at Kiptopeke and Cape Charles.000 hawks is counted per year at this hawk watch. flying from the arctic to the tropics use this corridor each year. The rationale for this is that raptors migrate all along the coast in some numbers with some locations experiencing heavier migration than others. These hawks and falcons may also hunt in the general area. marshes. At the former site a hawk watch is conducted each year. Because Assateague Island is only a very short distance to the east of Site #1. 1986. This includes a wide diversity of hawks. Heintzelman (1975) chronicles the history of hawkwatching and falcon trapping on Assateague. and the Saxis area as excellent birding sites for waterbirds and shorebirds. This site is a good distance south of the project site. but it is likely that large numbers of raptors of various species migrate through or near those sites on their way to the Kiptopeke area. making stopovers that could last from a few minutes to several days. it is likely that some or many of these migrating birds will fly over this portion of the project area. It is likely that several thousand hawks per year migrate along this barrier island. The fact that the two turbine sites are immediately adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean and back bay marshes suggests that a potentially significant number of hawks could migrate over either or both turbine sites. accipiters. as well as along the barrier islands of Assateague and Chincoteague. LLC – draft – 9-04 15 . Ducks. including falcons. and nearshore waters of the Atlantic appear to be globally significant migration areas for waterfowl. Peregrine Falcons and Merlins especially fly along the outer beaches and dunes in search of prey as they migrate along the east coast. The migration of falcons and other hawks along Assateague Island has been known for more than 50 years. Johnston (1997) lists the Chincoteague. The barrier islands. and shorebirds. Zalles and Bildstein (2000) do not list Assateague Island as a significant migration area for hawks.

the two CBCs covered a total area of 354 square miles (906 square km). including terns.5-2 miles (3. ibis. Two CBCs were close enough to the two turbine sites and contained habitat similar to the sites (Table 4). Thus. Each winter within about 10 days of Christmas. The most recent ten year period for these counts was examined. gulls. these will not likely provide specific information on use (abundance and behavior) of the turbine sites and will not add to this risk assessment. Each of these Christmas Counts included the area within a 15-mile (24 km) diameter circle. The migration of herons. although the numbers varied greatly during the ten year period examined. which included turbine Site #1 and came within 1. to prepare for the actual count day.2 km) of Site #2. LLC – draft – 9-04 16 . making the area functionally less suitable for habitation during that season. CBCs provide an excellent overview of the birds that inhabit an area during winter. although in some years it can be harsh for short periods of time. These birders search during the day and to a lesser extent at night. they scout for birds during that season. However. especially during the "count week" period. and other colonial birds. The CBC count data are used for various types of conservation purposes including population tracking and determining geographic range and abundance of species by various environmental groups and government wildlife agencies. and other species undoubtedly proceed along the coastline of Assateague and Wallops Island. Also. cormorants. In most years.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . all birds seen on the counts and during count weeks were included. In the analyses that follow. they are usually proficient or highly skilled observers. The years examined included the winters of 1993-1994 through 2002-2003 (Table 4). This means that moderate to large numbers of birds. Wintering Birds The winter climate along the coast of Virginia and in most of Accomack County is moderate. However. The closest of these to the project site was the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge CBC. the wind can be strong. can winter successfully in coastal Virginia. It is likely many thousands of these birds pass each fall and again in spring. The Chincoteague CBC extended northward into Maryland. at least 40 people participated on the CBCs in a given year. In addition. dozens of birders comb their local CBC area counting all birds encountered. more so than in the northeastern United States. egrets. There are also likely to be various state and federal studies showing where waterfowl and other waterbirds are likely to gather in the general area surrounding the JMU – NASA project site. The other CBC was located about 12 miles to the south-southwest of the project site in Accomack County. an area of about 177 square miles (453 square km).Kerlinger season. Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. The primary sources of information on birds wintering in and adjacent to Accomack County and the project site were National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs). in the entire area encompassed within a particular count area. Although most of these birders are unpaid amateurs. the ocean and nearby Chesapeake Bay make the climate on the peninsula warmer and more suitable for birds than inland Virginia.

The birds found on the two CBCs examined are very likely representative of the number and types of birds found on the JMU – NASA project sites. Site #2 may have some visitation by this species. owls. Summary of Audubon Christmas Bird Count data sets used to assess avian risk at the JMU-NASA Wind Power Project. With respect to Piping Plover. The fact that both sites regularly recorded more than 100 species and in some years reported 120 to more than 150 species shows that these coastal areas support a much larger number of species than inland areas during the winter. MD Wachapreague Accomack and Northampton Counties 10 17 – 31 / 139 – 158 species 10 15 – 31 / 107 – 129 species The diversity and number of birds varied between years and sites. Accomack County. Data included ten years of CBC data from 1993/4 to 2002/2003. shorebirds. Two federally threatened species. Virginia. and songbirds. Virginia threatened species found on the CBCs included very small numbers of Peregrine Falcons and they were found in most years. They will Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. they will probably traverse Site #1 and the habitats nearby on a regular basis. but this will be rare because it is nearly one-half mile (~1 km) back from the barrier beaches where these birds roost and forage. other waterbirds. neither Site #1 nor Site #2 is suitable habitat for these birds. Overall.Kerlinger Table 4.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . Bald Eagle and Piping Plover were found in small numbers (Table 5). as well as some long-legged waders (herons and egrets). LLC – draft – 9-04 17 . these CBCs suggest that the general area at and around the project site is an important wintering area for many species of birds. It is also important to note that the reason for the large number of species and individuals found on these CBCs is related to the diversity of habitats and the presence of excellent winter forage and cover for these species. During the ten year count period. Christmas Bird Count (County) Number of Years Number of Observers/ Species Counted (min-max) Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Accomack County. These birds could fly over Site #1 at times. Bald Eagles are rather unlikely to be visitors at Site #1. those visits are likely to be limited to overflights at relatively high altitudes. raptors. Because these birds forage on the outer beaches and marshes. It is highly unlikely that these birds will be near Site #2 because it is so far from suitable habitat and these birds rarely fly in the back bays and it is even more rare for them to fly inland from the back bays. no federally or Virginia state endangered species were found on any of the 4 CBCs examined. and other species were present. because it does not appear to be suitable habitat for these birds for either roosting or hunting. VA and Worcester County. It is also important to note that large numbers of waterfowl. but because it is not suitable habitat.

long-legged waders. very large numbers of wintering birds are found in the area including raptors. raptors. However. A much smaller subset of species is likely to be found at Site #2 because it is slightly inland from the back bays and because it is within an infrastructural area for NASA. They will quite likely hunt over the grassy fields at Site #1 during the winter. NS = Not Suitable). and songbirds. waterbirds of other kinds. No Virginia endangered species are likely to be present at or near the project site during winter.S. Waterbirds will likely traverse Site #1 while moving between foraging areas along the coast. the landbirds on this list will likely have settled into habitats and will not likely move through either of the two sites very often. LLC – draft – 9-04 18 . The presence of vast numbers of non-listed waterfowl. Several species of concern were found on the CBCs. waterfowl. A question mark (?) indicates that there were uncertainties in the determination.Kerlinger be present less often inland from the back bays. Some will move from the back bays to the ocean or vice versa. with the exception of a few species. By winter time. owls. It is possible that several of these species will pass through the areas where turbines would be located. some of which will forage or roost at the turbine sites or within several hundred meters of those sites. Table 5. Suitability of habitat for feeding or roosting in winter at the turbine sites is provided (S = Suitable. Many of these birds are likely to use or pass through the two turbine sites during this season. and songbirds on the 2 CBCs indicates that the general area experiences a major bird use. Species Brown Pelican .2003 counts. longlegged waders. so their presence at Site #2 is far less likely to occur. and forest patches. Several Virginia species of concern are also likely to be present during winter. although these birds may forage over farm fields inland from the back bays. the habitat on turbine Sites #1 and #2 are not suitable for foraging or roosting by most of the species listed in Table 5. Overall. owls. US-T = U. although state threatened species including Peregrine Falcon is likely present in small numbers in some years. other waterbirds. MS = Marginally Suitable. For some of these species the forests near the turbine site are likely to be somewhat suitable for roosting or foraging by these species. Threatened. Of these.SC Count CNWR W Number of Birds/Years Found 1-5 birds in 2 years 1 birds in 1 year Habitat Suitability NS Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . it is unlikely that any federally endangered bird species are present during winter at or near the two turbine sites. Birds that will actually forage on or roost on Site #1 will include songbirds that use the grassy fields. but they are not likely to spend much time near either of the turbine sites. United States and Virginia listed species and species of special concern found on the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (CNWR) and Wachapreague (W) Christmas Bird Counts in the JMU – NASA Wind Power Project and Accomack County (1994 . E & T = Virginia Endangered and Threatened. small numbers of two federally threatened species (Bald Eagle and Piping Plover) were found to be present during winter in the general areas. nearby dunes. In summary. shorebirds.

SC CNWR W Bald Eagle – US-T. T CNWR W Northern Harrier – SC CNWR W Peregrine Falcon – T CNWR W Piping Plover – US-T. T CNWR Forster’s Tern – SC CNWR W Barn Owl – SC CNWR No.SC Purple Finch – SC Red Crossbill – SC CNWR W CNWR W CNWR W CNWR 50 to 95 birds 10 years 1 to 5 birds in 7 years 1 in 1 year 1 in 1 year 1 to 21 birds in 10 years 4 to 26 birds in 10 years 10 to 47 birds in 10 years 15 to 39 birds in 10 years 1-3 birds in 10 years 1 to 6 birds in 8 years 1 bird in 2 years 103 to 456 birds in 5 years 1 to 157 birds in 5 years 1 birds in 2 years 2 birds in 1 year 2 to 12 birds in 6 years 1 to 44 birds in 6 years 3 to 17 birds in 10 years 1 to 4 birds in 9 years 13 to 41 birds in 10 years 1 to 8 birds in 10 years 26 to 276 birds in 10 years 6 to 58 birds in 9 years 24 to 151 birds in 10 years 1 to 23 birds in 10 years 1 to 10 birds in 7 years 1 to 15 birds in 7 years 1 to 31 birds in 8 years 2 to 10 birds in 7 years 2 birds in 2 years MS? – Site #1 S? – Site #1 NS S S NS NS NS NS-MS? MS? NS-MS? NS-MS? MS? MS? NS MS? MS? Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. LLC – draft – 9-04 19 .Kerlinger Great Egret – SC CNWR W Yellow-cr.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . Kinglet-SC CNWR Hermit Thrush – SC Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow . Saw-whet Owl – SC CNWR Red-breasted Nuthatch – SC CNWR W Brown Creeper – SC CNWR W Winter Wren – SC CNWR W Golden-cr. Night-heron .

There are also significant numbers of nesting birds in these areas. Parks. National Parks. Accomack County. Virginia. Sanctuaries. In addition. Audubon Society Sanctuaries.8 km) east of turbine Site #1 of the project site and about 5 miles (8 km) east of turbine Site #2. There do not appear to be any Audubon Sanctuaries near the project site. Nature Preserves. S.2 km) east of turbine Site #1 and about 3-4 miles (4. and Sensitive Habitats near the JMU – NASA Wind Power Project Sites. See above for Saxis Wildlife Management Area. about 8-10 miles west of the project site on Pocomoke Sound.Kerlinger Important Bird Areas.6 km) northwest of the project site. and Forests. Nature Conservancy Properties.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . and spring. Virginia State Parks and State Game/Wildlife Management Areas. This refuge and national is internationally renowned as a migration focal point for hundreds of species of birds. They provide excellent habitat for many nesting and migrating birds.4 km) east of Site #2. The Saxis Wildlife Management Area is on the western side of the eastern shore of Virginia. Also adjacent to this site is the Saxis Waterfowl Management Area and Refuge. It hosts large numbers of waterfowl and other birds (shorebirds. Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. Some of those islands are only a few miles from the JMU – NASA site. not to mention foraging birds in all seasons.8-6. various threatened species and species of concern nest within these two areas or forage or winter within them. winter. hawks. Fish and Wildlife Service) is about 2-3 miles (4. LLC – draft – 9-04 20 . Wildlife Refuges. The Pocomoke State forest in nearby Maryland is about 11 miles (17. Important Bird Areas. The Nature Conservancy’s Virginia Coastal Reserve includes 14 of 18 islands along the entire Virginia coast.2-4. .) each fall. Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (U. They are considered some of the best quality habitat for migrating birds along the east coast of North America and host some of the largest concentrations of migrations. Assateague National Seashore (National Park Service) is located less than 2 miles (3. etc.

Virginia (Appendix I for interview procedure and questions). or endangered birds (or other species) at the project site or the Accomack County area. They were asked about the birds of the JMU – NASA Wind Power Project and Accomack County. (2) sensitive or important bird habitat. threatened. Summaries of interviews are in Appendix III. They were also informed that a wind power facility was being planned and that this author was conducting a Phase I Avian Risk Assessment for a project. (3) bird concentration (migration. wintering. LLC – draft – 9-04 21 . Specifically. they were asked if they had knowledge (1) regarding rare. Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger.Kerlinger Interviews with Local Avian and Environmental Experts (PENDING) The following people with specialized knowledge of avian or related environmental issues were consulted.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . and nesting) sites. they were asked to express their concerns regarding the construction of a small wind power facility in the project area with respect to bird impacts. and (4) other people who would have knowledge about the area. In addition. foraging.

as well as the potential risk factors associated with each of these variables. Accomack County. That Review focuses primarily on biologically significant impacts to both state listed (endangered and threatened species) and non-listed species. In southwestern Minnesota at a large wind power plant. Collision fatalities apply to both federally listed and non-listed species. or global level. biologically significant impacts refer to impacts that would likely result in the decline of the local. the federal laws regarding disturbance and displacement apply strictly to federally endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. at the proposed site. By comparing the species likely to be present. geographic and topographic settings. The impacts of these activities and infrastructural presence on birds are not well known or documented. With Existing Wind Power Facilities The most powerful and. regional. under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Leddy et al. however. land use at most sites continues as before construction. With respect to legal implications. a probabilistic assessment of potential risk can be made. or winter at or adjacent to the two JMU NASA sites with wind power facilities that have documented risk or lack of risk. although recent studies are providing more information. resting. The relative importance of the two has been debated. although determination of biologically significant impacts to a particular species can be problematic. Fish and Wildlife Service. The actual footprint of a wind power project is usually small. numbers of individuals of those species. These two types of impacts are detailed below. such as grasslands and farm fields. and behavior of birds that are likely to nest. Two classes of impacts have been documented at wind power projects: (i) habitat alteration/disturbance from construction and presence of new infrastructure resulting in avoidance or displacement and (i) fatalities of birds that collide with infrastructure including turbine rotors and towers. perhaps. LLC – draft – 9-04 22 . Habitat Disturbance and Avoidance. forage. 1999).JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . and habitat. can be larger than the project footprint by virtue of the presence of tall structures and increased human activity. Virginia. Permitting of wind power facilities on federal lands such as the NASA facility must work through the NEPA process. Following construction. migrate through. only means of assessing risk to birds at proposed wind power project sites is to compare the avifauna. reduced nesting activity was detected in grassland birds in fields close to wind turbines as opposed to farther from those turbines (Leddy et al. found that the activities of birds Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. potentially necessitating Section 7 Consultation with the U. For the purpose of this report.Kerlinger Risk Assessment: A Comparison of Avian Risk at the JMU – NASA Wind Power Project. with sites where risk is known and has been documented empirically. Most studies have focused on disturbance to birds in treeless or open habitats. seasonal presence. The presence of new infrastructure – primarily turbines – has been studied to determine whether birds are displaced from a developed area. Habitat alteration and disturbance resulting from construction and the addition of wind turbines to the landscape can render an area unsuitable for foraging. S. The actual amount of wildlife habitat altered by a wind power project. or use in the same way as prior to construction.

Unfortunately. it would seem that some species do habituate. so habituation has not been examined. a post-construction study of birds was conducted at what was then the only situation where turbines had been erected in a mountaintop forest (Kerlinger 2000a. Surveys were done before and after the turbines were erected.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . 2002a). so they had not been previously exposed to these structures. Successful nesting of Mountain Plovers was noted within 200 m of operating turbines in a very few instances. The studies listed above have not examined habituation or long-term behavioral changes. White-throated Sparrow. as well as how they flew in close proximity to the turbines. These birds did habituate and their behavior appeared comparable to resident Red-tailed Hawks (R. studies have not been done 5 or 10 years after wind turbines have been erected. Today raptors and grassland nesting songbirds perch on the lattice towers of turbines and feed amongst the turbines in the APWRA. In Denmark. Red-tailed Hawks that were trained for falconry were brought to the turbines to study raptor flight and avoidance. Some species of forest nesting birds including Blackpoll Warbler. At the Foot Creek Rim Wind Plant. Prior to that study. Vermont.Kerlinger such as meadowlarks and other ground nesting birds in Conservation Reserve Program grasslands were inhibited within about 80-100 m of turbines. some shorebird species avoided the area within 250-500 m of wind turbines (Winkelman 1990). A study of migrating hawks in Vermont during autumn showed that the numbers of hawks that flew close to a hill with newly constructed turbines was much smaller than in the year prior to turbine construction and operation (Kerlinger 2000a). At the same Searsburg. shorebirds. In a study in the APWRA of California. In Europe similar results have been found among some waterfowl. Some species simply avoid the area immediately under wind turbines. 2000). For example. and songbirds. From the activities of birds at some United States wind farms. personal communication) within a few days of exposure to turbines. including other species of shorebirds. use of an area by nesting Mountain Plovers (a grassland nesting species) declined after construction of turbines and plover productivity was reduced (Johnson et al. LLC – draft – 9-04 23 . showing that the footprint of each turbine extended outward to 100-200 m or more. and Dark-eyed Junco appeared to habituate to the turbines within a year of construction. The area affected was greater than the actual project footprint. Naïve Red-tailed Hawks exposed to wind turbines for the first time at only about 100+ feet (32 m) would not fly. some shorebirds were displaced up to 800 m by the presence of turbines (Pederson and Poulsen 1991). habituate to the turbines or are not disturbed or displaced by them (Ihde and Vauk-Henzelt 1999. These migrants may have been avoiding these new structures. Few nested or foraged close beneath or close to the turbines. Other studies have shown that birds. Winkelman 1990). Yellow-rumped Warbler. Curry. while Swainson’s Thrush and some other species moved farther into the forest (away from the turbines). seemingly without disturbance or displacement after nearly 20 years of turbine presence. Although it was not known if the species that seemed Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. wind power project (11 turbines). It is not known if these species habituate to wind turbines or if they are permanently displaced. there were virtually no wind turbines in the range of these birds. The APWRA has extraordinary raptor and grassland nesting songbird use.

Retrofitting those lines with wildlife guards and insulation has virtually eliminated electrocutions in the APWRA. and whether impacts are likely to be significant. small forests. Avian fatalities are the second type of impact noted at wind power facilities. To give perspective. Birds that nest in forests are used to having trees over their heads. Collision Fatalities. With respect to most species. Long-term studies are needed to determine the degree of impact. They result from collisions with rotors and. neither of the two turbine sites is likely to have a major or biologically significant displacement or disturbance impacts. been small and population impacts have not been documented. they certainly were observed foraging and heard singing within forest edges 60-100 feet (20-30 m) of the turbine bases. Electrocutions were common in the APWRA because electrical lines there were above ground and constructed pre-APLIC (Avian Powerline Interaction Committee) standards. with windows. radar facilities. including an observation tower. diverting short distances that will not increase significantly the distance they need to fly during migration. but the results are suggestive. At modern facilities collection lines and some transmission is below ground. Both sites are in grassy fields adjacent to dunes. There appears to be a fundamental difference in the responses of woodland birds and grassland/open country birds to wind turbines. S. This difference may explain why the studies summarized above are so consistent. Collision impacts have been studied systematically at about 20 different wind project sites across the United States (Erickson et al. (2001) projected that in 2001. Disturbance Risk at JMU – NASA Wind Power Facility. especially of habituation. hay mowing.000 birds were killed at about 15. to date there have not been enough studies. The number of fatalities involved at project sites has. The study was not the ideal design to study displacement/avoidance. 2001. Erickson et al. LLC – draft – 9-04 24 . and other It is likely that low flying migrants will simply fly around these turbines.Kerlinger to habituate nested near the turbines. Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. Such fatalities are orders of magnitude smaller in number than collision fatalities at transmission lines. Fish and Wildlife Service) and are much lower than depredation permits allowed in the U. to make generalized conclusions. turbine collision fatalities are orders of magnitude smaller than hunting harvests permitted by professional wildlife managers (data from U. buildings. with guy wires of meteorology towers. 2001). fences.000 wind turbines in the United States averaging about 2. approximately 33. whereas grassland birds are not. 2002). generally. Hames et al. impacting only a very few individuals of a few It is important that there are already tall and short structures present at the two sites. oil pits. and near wetlands and beaches. etc (www. on highways.currykerlinger. fishery long lines. and at communication towers (Erickson et al. acid rain. as well as non-collision fatalities related to cat predation.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . also see reference list and Appendix IV) and at a similar number in Europe.1 birds per turbine per year. Each turbine site is far enough from critical habitats of listed species so that impacts are likely to be only minor. However. S. whether or not there is habituation. A summary of fatalities documented at wind plants in the United States is presented in Appendix IV. to a lesser extent.

Red-tailed Hawks.Kerlinger These fatalities were spread among dozens of bird species. These sites are adjacent to the North Sea.400. At another wind plant in the Netherlands. However. wind power facilities report few raptor fatalities. the regional and local population remains stable. reducing the potential for population impacts. 2000). American Kestrels. These factors have been hypothesized to act alone or in concert (Howell and DiDonato 1991. A study from Tarifa suggested that several dozen of these birds were killed in the early years of plant operation there (Montes Marti and Barrios Jaque 1995). Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. 1996). dozens of songbirds and shorebirds of a variety of species were reported to be involved in collisions with wind turbines (Winkelman 1995). Several factors (Table 6) are now believed to contribute to raptor risk in the APWRA. where migration and wintering birds are densely concentrated into a relatively small area. Furthermore. LLC – draft – 9-04 25 . and some other species collide with turbines in varying numbers. At a few localities small to moderate numbers of fatalities have been reported. grassland songbirds.000 migrating raptors per year as well as tens of thousands of other soaring birds and millions of other migrants. Those fatalities were spread among species. but should be considered as the information is available. The only wind power site in the United States where risk to birds has been suspected to be significant is the APWRA of California. several dozen waterfowl fatalities were noted (Winkelman 1995).000 several years ago). although a later report included reference to only a few of these birds and very few raptors (Janss 2000). Studies at all other U. suggest greater risk to large vultures. Recent reports from the Navarre region of central northern Spain suggest that relatively large numbers of fatalities have been occurring at newer wind power facilities.S. where turbines were in the water. vultures. and other species fly amongst the APWRA turbines and rarely collide with the turbines. with many migrants originating 100s to 1. Reports from Tarifa. reduced from about 7.000+ miles from project sites. to produce mortality in the APWRA. ravens. This suggests indicates that the APWRA is an anomaly and that raptor fatalities are rare events at wind plants. In coastal Netherlands at a wind power site where there are about 18 turbines. in southernmost Spain. They are: The world’s largest concentration of operating turbines (N=5. including local Griffon Vultures. Those reports are not yet available. although nowhere. large numbers of fatalities of migrants have not been found by researchers or plant operations personnel. Tarifa also hosts more than 100. The situation with respect to raptor impact in the APWRA seems to be an anomaly. because it has not been documented at other wind plants. Orloff and Flannery 1992. the geographic origin of the birds killed extended across North America. This fact reduces the probability of population impacts by distributing fatalities over a number of species at a site and within a region. A long-term study of the Altamont Golden Eagle population by Hunt (2002) concluded that although fatalities of this species continue to occur at a high rate. In Europe. Golden Eagles. avian mortality has been shown to be minimal at most wind power plants. including the APWRA have such fatalities had negative impacts on populations of raptors species.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . It is interesting that large numbers of gulls. where raptor fatalities have occurred for two decades. Raptors are believed to be the most collision-susceptible group of birds (Anderson et al.

Lattice towers .no perching Slow Rotating Blades ~12-24 rpm Widely Spaced – Not in Rows Turbines on Flat Ground Mammal Prey Base Minimal. although carcass removal and searcher efficiency studies revealed more birds were actually killed. and Turbine rotors that revolve at high rotation rates (>40-72 rpm). Table 6. California. very Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. almost no waterbirds. At wind projects in Oregon and nearby Washington. Large concentrations of turbines –5.NASA. More recently.Attracting Raptors 7. 2000).Kerlinger Closely spaced turbines (<10 m [<30 feet] rotor to rotor distance) that may not permit birds to fly between them safely. a Golden Eagle was found dead at that wind plant.400 (in 2002) 2. Raptor and Susceptible Species Use of Area – High JMU . avian mortality resulting from collisions with wind turbines has been studied at more eight wind power sites. In the Tehachapi Mountains. Known or Suspected Risk Factors – APWRA 1. Only in the APWRA have numbers been considered high. Small numbers of raptors were involved at this site.a result of a superabundant population of California ground squirrels. Comparison of known and suspected risk factors for raptors at the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area. wind turbines in tilled farmland and rangeland killed small numbers of birds of a variety of species including grassland nesting birds. The number of fatalities reported from the San Gorgonio Pass involved fewer than 40 birds (one raptor) at 120 turbines in two years of study (Anderson et al. a few gamebirds. 84 birds were found (not including carcasses removed and carcasses missed by searchers) at 180 turbines (Anderson et al. Virginia. Fast Rotating Turbine Blades . Steep topography with turbines placed in valleys and along steep valley/canyon edges where risk is greater. Accomack County.50-72 rpm 4. Closely Spaced Turbines . Turbines mounted on lattice type towers and tubular towers with external work platforms and ladders that encourage perching and by providing shade and cover from the sun and rain. LLC – draft – 9-04 26 .perching raptors 3. Large Prey Base .JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . Turbines in Steep Valleys/Canyons 6. 2000) in two years of searches.80-100 feet (<30 m) (Side to Side Turbine Spacing) 5. VA 1 or 2 turbines Tubular towers . Avian Prey Base Large Raptor Use of Area – High to Moderate/Seasonally Dependent In the far western United States (Appendix IV). with the JMU – NASA Wind Power Project. Extremely large numbers and a high density of foraging raptors year-round .

Six raptors of 3 species were killed and about 24% of fatalities were night migrating songbirds. At one of the world’s largest wind power facilities. 10 Red-tailed Hawks. revealed 1 night migrating songbird fatality during a year-long Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. 2002. 1 American Kestrel. 90 fatalities were identified. At the Foote Creek Rim project. WI. reported the fatalities of relatively small numbers of birds although one Golden Eagle.Kerlinger few raptors. unpublished data). the State Line project in Washington and Oregon. no species accounted for more than 57 (Chipping and Vesper sparrows) individuals. 2003). Kansas. California. A two-year study in the Kewaunee County peninsula of Wisconsin revealed about two-dozen songbird (mostly migrants) fatalities under 31 turbines situated in farm fields (Howe et al. The turbines there are modern turbines that extended to more than 350 feet AGL (unpublished report to the High Winds Technical Advisory Committee). Fish and Wildlife Service from the High Winds project in Solano County. A recent report to the U.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . and 23 American Kestrels were found dead at that site in a period of about 1 year. In the Midwest. McCown's Longspur. a very few waterbirds. Farther east. Ronald Ryder. 53 carcasses were found (Johnson et al. Minnesota. Of the migrants. The most modern and tallest turbines accounted for the larger number of fatalities. Wyoming. and some night migrants (Erickson et al. 2002) in an area encompassing more than 200 wind turbines that was searched over several years. and some migrating songbirds (about 70% of the 53 documented fatalities). nor have fatalities involved federally endangered or threatened species. the fatality rate per turbine per year has recently been found to be slightly less than 2 birds per turbine per year (Erickson et al. with Horned Larks (locally nesting birds) accounting for more than one-half of all birds found. After five years of systematic searches at 29 new turbines (expanded to 45 in the third year) in a short-mixed grass prairie-type habitat in northern Colorado. S. 2002). studies have been done in Minnesota and Wisconsin. These projects include slightly more than a dozen turbines to about 3 dozen turbines. The species composition included a variety of birds. That project has 399 turbines.5 birds per turbine per year at turbines of different dimensions. LLC – draft – 9-04 27 . White-throated Swifts. Curry & Kerlinger LLC believe that the prevalence of Horned Larks in avian fatality lists is a result of their aerial courtship flight during which they circle at the elevation of the rotors. Colorado State University. A study of two modern wind turbines at Shirley. 75 of which were at wind turbines and 15 of which were at meteorology towers with guy wires. The fatality rates per turbine ranged between about 1 bird per turbine per year to nearly 4. Lark Bunting. Among the fatalities were a variety of species. and at a small site in Kansas. fewer than 50 fatalities have been documented. also in a short-mixed grass prairie habitat. Thus about 17% of the fatalities resulted from collisions with guy wires at the meteorology towers and likely would have been avoided by using unguyed towers. Jeffrey Energy Center in Pottawatomie County. There has been no suggestion of population impacts at any of these facilities. At the Buffalo Ridge wind power facility near Lake Benton. The fatalities include Horned Lark. some of which extend to more than 350 feet in height. including one raptor (Red-tailed Hawk). 2000). Finally. no fatalities were noted by Young (2000) at the two turbine. 1 teal. A total of four raptors were found dead at the Foote Creek Rim project (3 American Kestrels and 1 Northern Harrier) and 48% of the fatalities were night migrating birds. and some other songbirds (Dr. studies of avian fatality have been conducted at the wind plants in grasslands in Colorado.

One raptor was killed. An average of about ~8 birds per turbine per year was estimated to have been killed. Despite these suspicions. During a year of study at a wind plant consisting of 7 modern turbines (390 feet [120 m]. searches done in June through October 1997 (nesting through migration) revealed no fatalities at 11 new turbines (192 feet [58 m] tall without FAA lights) situated on a forested hilltop (Kerlinger 2000a and 2002). The turbine specifications. A two-year study of 3 turbines in a forested setting on a mountain in western Tennessee revealed several dozen fatalities. no FAA lights) located in open fields revealed no carcasses (Cooper et al. well away from the Atlantic Ocean and most certainly do not have large scale bird use like Site #1 and to a lesser extent for Site #2.Kerlinger study (Howe and Atwater 1999). The other sites are inland sites. it should be noted that the two turbine locations proposed for the JMU – NASA sites are different from the sites listed in Appendix IV and discussed in the above section. It should be stated. the site of one of the largest inland hawk watches in New England. In upstate New York. In the eastern United States. and FAA lighting likely to be used at the JMU – NASA Wind Power Project have not been implicated in biologically significant fatality events or numbers of avian fatalities at wind plants in the United States. although fewer birds were found. height. fatalities have been examined at more than a half dozen wind power facilities. mostly night migrating songbirds (Nicholson 2001. the wind power facility in Massachusetts is on Mount Wachusett. no FAA lights) in a forested setting in Massachusetts. linear ridge where there is hawk migration and where environmentalists suspected that there was a large migration of songbirds. LLC – draft – 9-04 28 . a Red-tailed Hawk. FAA red blinking lights) located in farmland in Somerset County.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . including carcasses that were removed by scavengers and those missed by searchers. some of which are older turbines. however. Pennsylvania. At an older wind power facility with 8 small turbines (~100 feet [32 m] tall. that many of the same species are found migrating over turbines inland. and there was no difference found between turbines lit with FAA red blinking lights and those that were not lit. At a facility with 8 modern turbines (~280 feet [85 m] tall. 17 rounds of fatality searches conducted in June 2000 through May 2001 revealed no avian fatalities (Kerlinger 2001). It is important to note that the Mountaineer project site is situated on a long. no fatalities were found (Jacobs 1993). 1995). Collision Risk at the JMU – NASA Project site. The overall numbers of bird fatalities at the Mountaineer site was slightly greater than 4 birds per turbine per year. In southeastern Vermont. the numbers of birds found dead at the Mountaineer site does not appear to be biologically significant. These turbines were about 250 feet in height and had white flashing FAA lights. A study at a small wind plant in Iowa reported no fatalities (Demastes and Trainor 2000). 2002). Surprisingly. A study by biologists working at the Mountaineer Wind Energy Center in West Virginia was conducted in 2003 (Kearns and Kerlinger 2004) at 44 turbines that were about 340 feet tall and had red blinking FAA lights on about every third turbine. FAA red blinking lights) in central New York. The fatalities of night migrating birds was about 3 birds per turbine per year. However. several months of daily searches during spring and autumn migration beneath two wind turbines (168 feet [~51 m] tall. 4 wind turbine and 1 guyed-meteorology tower fatalities were identified (Kerlinger2002). although the numbers of birds are likely to be lower inland and the dynamics of migration and other flight are Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger.

tall structures are almost unheard of. Waterfowl. Risk to raptors at the JMU – NASA project could occur in greater than average numbers (per turbine per year). yet very few raptors are killed. and night migrating songbirds. in Tarifa. Collisions of migrating raptors with turbines. The risk to these birds is not likely to be great or biologically significant at this turbine. as well as many nesting waterbirds. The fact that these migrants are likely to forage while migrating through the vicinity of Site #1 suggests that they may not be attentive to objects in their way. and other vertical. risk to birds is generally presented as a per turbine per year (or per megawatt. For example.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . along with Ospreys nest on the marshes and a few other species nest in the forests and farmlands adjacent to Site #2. The information presented above shows that raptors are present at the project site (mostly Site #1) in moderate to large numbers. Their behavior is almost invariably to fly around the strings of turbines (Kerlinger. The issue of risk to migrating raptors may not be entirely relevant however. Janss 2000). long-legged waders. These nesting birds likely would forage near or at the turbine sites. Red-tailed Hawks. this would amount to maxima of 20 to 70 birds per turbine per year. Cooper’s Hawks. In addition. the barrier islands of Maryland and Virginia are the scene of large-scale migrations of other raptors including Merlins. Northern Harriers and a few other raptor species. which may put some of these birds at risk as well. more than 100. LLC – draft – 9-04 29 . waterbirds. rails. The degree of risk probably varies by species group such that species like waterfowl and shorebirds are less likely to collide with Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. communication towers.). thereby incurring some risk.Kerlinger likely to be different between inland and coastal sites. It is hypothesized that the raptors killed most often in the APWRA are actively hunting (as opposed to migrating) as opposed to migrating (the APWRA is not known as a migration corridor for raptors).). However. Finally. at the project site. because migrating raptors generally do not seem to be at risk of colliding with structures. The fact that Assateague/Chincoteague Island supports one of the largest migrations of Peregrine Falcons in the world suggests greater than normal risk to these birds. spread over a number of species. etc. personal observations) and large numbers of migrant fatalities have not been demonstrated (Marti Montes and Jaque 1995.000 raptors pass through a large array of turbines each spring and fall. Ospreys. At this rate if the numbers of species involved amounted to 5 or 10 species. The abundance of very large numbers of wintering and migrating waterbirds (waterfowl. Risk to Shorebirds. shorebirds. Risk to Raptors. etc. shorebirds. Risk to raptors at turbine Site #2 appears to be lower than at Site #1 because that site is well away from the barrier islands where the above listed raptors migrate in large numbers. the number killed per species per turbine per year would amount to 4 to 14. The following risk assessments pertain to specific groups of birds including raptors. especially at Site #1 than has been reported for most wind power studies in the United States. or per rotor swept area) metric so with only a single turbine at each of the two sites. Site #2 will also probably experience some migration. and Other Waterbirds. absolute numbers of fatalities at the turbines are likely to involve relatively few birds. albeit of a different set of species (Sharp-shinned Hawks. Peregrine Falcons and Northern Harriers. If the per turbine fatality rate were 10 times that of all other turbines in the United States. suggests that risk to these species is likely to be greater than at other locations that have been studied. Spain.

A study in Belgium revealed that a turbine array near a tern colony killed Gulls were killed in numbers that are not likely to be construed as biologically significant. 2000. Most notably. Small numbers of these birds could collide with the turbines at JMU – NASA site. However. In California in the Montezuma Hills. Overall. coots. the numbers will be relatively small and not likely to be biologically significant. The reason is that there are few birds that nest in this area because of the infrastructure present. 2000). based on their behavior as they passed through the turbine field. especially at Site #1. yet the numbers of fatalities found at that site are minimal. Belgium.000 to 225. especially in light of the fact that about 150. these species have been shown to be susceptible to colliding with turbines.Kerlinger turbines than will species such as terns. waterfowl fatalities are very low. there have been few turbines placed where there are thousands of these birds nesting within a few miles. Risk to these birds at Site #1 is likely to be greater than at Site #2 because the former site is closer to colonies and feeding areas. and rails seem to be somewhat more susceptible to colliding with tall structures (Shire et al. 28 terns were killed by 23 turbines during slightly less than one year. gulls. 2001). There is strong evidence that waterfowl and shorebirds rarely collide with tall structures. despite the wind farm’s location immediately adjacent to the Suisun Marsh (an important waterfowl area according to Bellrose 1976) and the Sacramento River. Colonial nesting waterbirds including herons. it is unlikely that birds that nest within 100-200 m of the turbine will be significantly impacted. The literature on communication towers also shows that shorebirds and waterfowl rarely collide with communication towers. grebes. 2001) either during migration or at other times of the year. egrets. and ibis have not been killed in large numbers at turbine locations. The numbers of fatalities are not likely to be biologically significant. and ibis. rails. If the numbers of fatalities are similar on a per turbine basis to those found for similar sized terns at turbines in Belgium. including coot. Collision rates varied with Common Terns having a higher collision rate than Little Terns. At a site with 25 turbines in Flanders. Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. The numbers killed are not likely to be biologically significant. although in much smaller numbers than songbirds. This risk remains an unknown. although rails are known to be impacted by tall communication towers (Shire et al. For other species such as egrets. risk is not well known or documented. including wind turbines (Erickson et al. by the port city of Zeebrugge. With respect to terns and gulls. and some others.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . herons.000 ducks and geese are shot legally in Virginia annually without significant impact. the Buffalo Ridge project in southwestern Minnesota is in a heavy migration area for ducks and geese. The literature on tall communication towers shows that these species collide with turbines at disproportionately greater numbers than do waterfowl. Other waterbirds. Risk to On-Site Nesting Birds. or they see them and avoid them. It is possible that some of these birds could collide with the turbines at the JMU – NASA site. This translates to slightly more than 1 tern killed per turbine per year. Erickson et al. LLC – draft – 9-04 30 . It is likely that most shorebirds and waterfowl either fly higher than turbines and.

Kerlinger 2000b) reveal virtually no large scale mortality events at communication towers less than 500-600 feet in height and often no fatalities at towers shorter than this height. small numbers of migrants passing over the site will fly within the altitude range of the turbine rotors.500 feet (91-915 m) AGL (Kerlinger 1995. The incidents reported involve mostly single birds. May 18-19. 2004. S. Department of Energy (Shire et al. all have been equipped with up to 12 steady burning red L810 obstruction lights. because it is the guy wires of tall communication towers that account for almost all of the collisions.Kerlinger Risk to Night Migrating Birds. and the absence of steady-burning FAA red lights (L-810 obstruction lights) on wind turbines. their lack of guy wires (Kerlinger 2000b).200 to 1. 2003. unlit turbines.524 m) AGL. Washington. The most recent literature surveys conducted by U. with small numbers flying above 5. S. from literature and recent unpublished studies) in height. The reason few nocturnal migrants collide with wind turbines as opposed to tall communication towers is probably related to the shorter height of wind turbines. Wind turbines never have the steady-burning red lights (FAA – L-810 obstruction lights) that are present on communication towers. DC and American Bird Conservancy – American Wind Energy Association Meeting. Kerlinger and Kearns and Kerlinger (paper presented at the November 18. The fact that there are no guy wires on turbines is of critical importance. 2000.500 feet (366-457 m) AGL. personal communication and memo to U. are greater than 500-600 feet (152-183 m. In a recent study. few migrants are below about 500-600 feet (152-183 m) AGL. much taller than wind turbines. not a single bird was found at some towers up to 475 feet (152 m) in height and not a single fatality has been registered at unguyed meteorology towers at wind power sites in the 40-60 m (~120-190 feet) height range (same references as in Appendix IV). Mean hourly altitudes usually exceed 1. including virtually all of those where large numbers were killed in a single night. The literature reveals that fewer than about 1 fatality per year occurs at unguyed communication towers that are as tall as 475 feet (Gehring 2004. Note that on the 1. unlike the large-scale events that occur at communication towers greater than 500-600 feet (152-183 m) in height.000 foot tall communication towers where large fatality events have occurred. Because the rotors of most modern turbines extend to only about 300-390 feet (91-119 m) AGL. The communication towers that are responsible for a vast majority of avian fatalities. The last risk factor that has been implicated in collisions of night migrating birds with tall structures is lighting (Kerlinger 2000b). DC) demonstrated that there were no large-scale fatality events at wind turbines and that there was no difference in numbers of fatalities at lit vs. LLC – draft – 9-04 31 . A majority of migrants fly between 300 and 2. Trapp 1998.000 feet (1.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . S. Kerlinger 2002. Except for landing and taking off. Fish and Wildlife Service). The studies summarized in Appendix IV have not reported large or significant numbers of night migrants colliding with wind turbines. The fact that no large scale mortality events have occurred at wind turbines suggests FAA obstruction lighting for wind turbines does not have the same attractive effect as Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. The issue of night migrating song and other birds colliding with turbines should also be considered when assessing risk. The lights of communication towers and some other structures have been demonstrated to attract migrants that then collide with the structure. The lighting on wind turbines is very different from the lighting on communication towers. Fish and Wildlife and the U. Kerlinger and Moore 1989). National Wind Coordinating Committee-Wildlife Working Group meeting in Washington.

there were almost no fatalities at the latter turbines and there was no difference during the year of study in numbers of dead birds at the lit vs. LLC – draft – 9-04 32 . Rates in West Virginia.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . the rates at western sites are less than one migrant per turbine per year. unlit turbines. Numerous fog and rain events occurred. The reasons for these patterns are likely to be the greater densities of night migrants in the eastern one-half of the United States and greater densities of migrants farther south in the eastern United States. whereas in the eastern United States at tall turbines the rates range from less than one per turbine per year to about 7 or 8 per turbine per year. The latter rate was from Tennessee. The source area for migrants is much greater in the southeastern United States than in the northeastern portion of the country. Thus. Despite the fact that there were 11 turbines lit at the other 41 turbines farther from the substation. The substation was lit with several bright sodium vapor lamps. collision risk to night migrating songbirds is likely to be greater than at turbines in inland situations. if flashing lights are used on the turbines. which apparently attracted the birds to that substation and a wind turbine that was only 50 m away. there were fewer fatalities of night migrants. suggests that the rate of collisions for night migrating birds at both Site #1 and Site #2 are likely to be greater than at inland turbines. were slightly greater than 3 per turbine per year.Kerlinger do the lights of communication towers. About 90% of the 30 songbirds found dead were at the substation and nearest turbine. For example. to the north of the Tennessee site. Large-scale fatality events are not likely. The fact that there are likely to be more migrants passing through the coastal areas and making stopovers there as opposed to inland turbine sites. so the appropriate weather for multiple collision events occurred. This was illustrated nicely at the Mountaineer Wind Energy Center in West Virginia when 30 migrants were killed at a substation and three adjacent wind turbines on a foggy night. Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. At turbines in Pennsylvania and New York. although the numbers of birds killed are not likely to be biologically significant because only 1 or 2 turbines are involved. Fatalities of night migrants have been greater in the eastern and Midwestern United States than in the west.

shorebirds. The U. and from results of the literature search and interviews (Pending). 7. Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. Fish and Wildlife Service is now recommending more studies be done than have been done at new wind power project sites. Individuals of several of those species were observed during the site visit. and wintering birds. waterfowl.NASA project sites.NASA sites and lands around them support a very diverse array and large number of nesting. 8. Both are greatly modified by human activity and there are buildings. indicate that the JMU – NASA turbine sites. The two turbines would not change land use on the sites if the turbines are erected. 11. and other infrastructure present 2. Based on their behavior and habitat preference. towers. The site is close to important wildlife habitat and protected lands indicating the general area is important for large numbers of birds. LLC – draft – 9-04 33 . present relatively high risk to various types of birds. The JMU . Four of those birds were observed. 10. It is likely that they will request more study for the JMU .Kerlinger Findings From what was observed of the habitat and topography at the JMU – NASA Wind Power site on the eastern Shore of Virginia. 3. S. The two JMU – NASA turbine sites are on federal land that is not sensitive habitat. 5. Risk factors. Significant migration by hawks. Recommendations are made to prevent and minimize potential impacts. songbirds.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . or other species occurs adjacent to and over the project site. the fact that there would only be one or two turbines suggests the absolute number of fatalities would not be high and that the impacts would not be biologically significant. indicating the habitat is excellent for these species. 12. Site #1 and to a lesser extent Site #2 are suitable for several Virginia listed species and species of concern. both known and suspected. migrating. The site is located at a major ecological magnets that attracts large numbers of migrants. 6. 4. 9. Although the numbers of collision fatalities at the turbines are likely to be greater on a per turbine basis than other wind power sites. The habitat on and adjacent to the site and the literature document large concentrations of wintering waterfowl and other birds at and around the project site. risk to these species is not likely to be great. the following conclusions were made: 1. The habitat immediately adjacent to Site #1 is suitable for federally threatened Piping Plovers. especially Site #1.

a literature and database review regarding birds that inhabit or use the JMU – NASA Wind Power Project site. the following recommendations are made. a detailed nesting bird survey and use study should be conducted to determine whether such species might be at risk and estimate the potential risk to those species in terms of biological significance. Electrical lines from the turbines to nearby transmission/distribution lines should be underground to the degree possible and all new above ground wires leading from the site and substations. FAA lighting for night use should only be flashing lights (L-864 red or white) with the longest possible off cycle permissible and no steady burning (L-810) FAA lights should be used. Because federal and Virginia listed species occur in the general area. If construction goes forward. site reconnaissance. S. especially the eastern site (Site #1). Such a meeting would involve potential Section 7 ESA consultation and a discussion of the expected scope of work. LLC – draft – 9-04 34 . if needed. should be free-standing and unguyed to prevent the potential for avian collisions.Kerlinger Recommendations Based on what is known about the potential risks of wind power development in the United States and Europe on birds. Fish and Wildlife Service (and perhaps Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation) to determine what they will be requesting/requiring with respect to studies and their new interim and voluntary guidelines for wind power development. Sodium vapor lamps and spotlights should not be used near turbines. Because risk at Site #2 is assessed to be much lower than Site #1. a comparison of collision impacts at these two sites would provide a means of testing the methodology used herein for assessing risk. Permanent meteorology towers. and after construction disturbed habitats should be restored to the extent possible. Meet with the U. Lighting should be minimal at the turbines and nearby infrastructure to minimize or eliminate attraction of night migrating songbirds and similar species. should have specifications that follow APLIC (Avian Power Line Interaction Committee) guidelines. a post-construction study of collision fatalities would be helpful to potential site expansion and future wind power development in coastal areas of the Eastern Shore. Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. and interviews (PENDING) with experts and regulators. Turbine pads and roads to those pads should be minimal in size to minimize habitat impact.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment .

Bird migration near proposed wind turbine site at Wethersfield and Harrisburg.J.S. C. Plissner. K. Inc. A visual and radar study of spring bird migration at the proposed Chautauqua Wind Energy Facility. T. T. P. Bellrose. Radar studies of nocturnal migration at wind sites in the eastern U. Cooper. Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. 2004. Wildlife Management Institute Publication. May. 2004. and N. Springer. Lancaster. Avery.A.A. Mechanicsburg. a general survey.L. National Wind Coordinating Committee/RESOLVE. geese. A radar study of nocturnal bird migration at the proposed Chautauqua Wind Energy Facility. CA.J. LLC – draft – 9-04 35 .B.. New York. New York. A. B. Bird migration near existing and proposed wind turbine sites in the eastern Lake Ontario region. 1998. and swans of North America. R. Oxford University Press. Washington. Stackpole Books. Bird migration. CA.. 2000. Cooper. 1973. and J. F. 1998. NY. Ritchie. Draft Report to Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. NY. LLC. et al. Ducks. B.J. DC. Report to Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. Johnson. Cambridge University Press. T. Dailey. Fish & Wildlife Service.F. Bird migration. Syracuse. PA. San Diego. Inc.. LLC. May 18-19. The role of weather variables in determining the magnitude of nocturnal bird migration. Anderson. M. National Audubon Society.. and T. 1980.H.. Ecology 54:1031-1041. Cooper. Avian mortality at man-made structures: an annotated bibliography. FWS/OBS-80/54.J.A. San Diego. New York. S. Kerlinger.A.. 1976. Syracuse. Berthold. 1995. R. Plissner.. and P. Proceedings of the National Avian Wind Power Interaction Workshop III.C. Final Report. National Wind Coordinating Committee/RESOLVE. Oxford. The Altamont Avian Plan. Avian monitoring and risk assessment at Tehachapi and San Gorgonio.S.A. Prepared for Chautauqua Windpower. Cooper. Alerstam. B.J. and R. B.P.A. and J.. 2000. WRAS. NY. Curry.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment .. 2004. Cambridge. 2001. Final Report. Stickney. Mabee. and T. Lancaster. NY. Proceedings of the National Avian Wind Power Interaction Workshop III. U. Mabee. Paper presented at the American Bird Conservancy-American Wind Energy Association Meeting.H. Christmas Bird Count 1994-2003. B.. 1999. Mabee. Chautauqua Windpower. Fall 2003. 1990. May. Mabee.Kerlinger References* Able. 2004. Cooper.

D. HMANA. K. R. Radar observations of bird migration over the Great Lakes. Black. Gauthreaux. Erickson. Good. Wheye. OR. Direct visual and radar methods for the detection. Duffy.. Washington. Iowa. W.D. Johnson. Rosenberg.. Erickson. K. K. Clemson. LLC – draft – 9-04 36 .D. 1980. Wilson Bull. J. Partners in Flight. The birder's handbook.J. and K.V.. Bourassa. J. Simon and Shuster. and prediction of bird migration. Umatilla County. Strickland.P. of Resource Services and Development. Tech. W. Ehrlich. 1988. Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. SC. fatality. and mortality information from proposed and existing wind power developments. 2000. Bay. Gritski. Clemson. Portland. New Jersey. Report to Umatilla County Dept. Tech.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment .. OR. Strickland. Algona. D. and P.. D. Sernka. Kerlinger. 2001. Dobkin. W. Trainer. and J.P. and B. New York. Direct visual and radar methods for detection. SC. Kronner.. Nine Canyon Wind Power Project avian and bat monitoring report. Good. G. 2003. IA. W. Dept. Johnson. 2002. Avian risk..E. K. Avian collisions with wind turbines: a summary of existing studies and comparisons to other sources of collision mortality in the United States. Gauthreaux. 2003. 2003. Johnson. Rpt. Clemson University. Young. W. Jr. Prepared for Nine Canyon Technical Advisory Committee and Energy Northwest.A. Dept. N. Cedar Falls. 1980. M. S. Avian Subcommittee. and prediction of bird migration. M. and K. Oregon Office of Energy. Erickson. M. Acoustic monitoring of night-migrating birds: A progress report.. Oregon: 1999 study year.. 1999. Jeffrey. quantification. Avian and bat mortality associated with the Vansycle Wind Project. K. Stateline wind project wildlife monitoring annual report.A. raptor nesting. R. Larkin. of Zoology. Pendleton. R.Kerlinger Diehl. quantification. of Zoology.R. 1992. Evans. a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. D. S.W. results for the period July 2001 – December 2002. Bay. and Stateline Technical Advisory Committee.D. Demastes. Hawk Migration Studies (The Journal of the Hawk Migration Association of North America). Synthesis and comparison of baseline avian and bat use. Bonneville Power Administration. Erickson. and disturbance at the IDWGA Wind Farm. M. and R. and K. Erickson. 1996-2002 and other volumes. W. and K. Auk 120:278-290. and D. 2000. Autumn owl migration at Cape May Point. Clemson University.R. DC. P. Kronner. Strickland. White paper prepared for the National Wind Coordinating Committee. IA. Report to Univ.. Kronner. G.. to FPL Energy. 104:312-320.S. September 2002-August 2003.H. G. and J. Sernka.

Good.F. W.A. The potential effects of wind power facilities on resident and migratory birds in eastern Wisconsin.Wind Power Planning Meeting III. San Diego. Howell. R.. pp. for Kenetech Windpower.V.E. 1991. 1988 through August 1989. Bundesverband WindEnergie e. San Francisco. and E. CA. Janss. CA. Assessment of avian use and mortality related to wind turbine operations. M. California.. J. G. W... National Wind Coordinating Committee. Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Spain: management considerations.A.. and A. Erickson. Avian and bat mortality associated with the initial phase of the Foote Creek Rim Windpower Project.D. CA. Sept. G. Osnabruck. Bird behavior in and near a wind farm at Tarifa.W. W. D. R. Strickland. Howe.E. Wolf. National Avian . and S. Collision mortality of local and migrant birds at the large-scale wind power development on Buffalo Ridge. 1997. Heintzelman. CA. M. DC. Golden Eagles in a perilous landscape: predicting the effects of mitigation for wind turbine blade-strike mortality. J. Germany. Proc.T. IN.S. Autumn hawk flights. 1999. and J. 1995. Avian mortality at rotor swept area equivalents. Report to Kenetech Windpower. Rutgers University Press. Assessment of avian use and mortality related to wind turbine operations. D. 1999. S. The migrations of hawks. Johnson. 398. Altamont Pass.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . Howell. Becker. Sept. CA. New Brunswick. Final Rept. Report to California Energy Commission. 2002.D. Livermore.. CA. D.A. G. NJ.S.E.. Carbon County. PierP500-02-043F Ihde. 369 pp. 2002. 1999. Paper presented to the Windpower 1994 Annual meeting. G. and Bureau of Land Management. Altamont Pass. Effects of wind turbines on birds and bats in northeastern Wisconsin. Washington. 1975.D.P. 1998-October 31. J. A. Erickson. Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Jr. 2002. 1988 through August 1989. D. San Francisco.. May 1998. Atwater. Bloomington. Young. DiDonato. Strickland. for Kenetech Windpower. Evans. Altamont Pass and Montezuma Hills. 1986.Kerlinger Heintzelman. M. Final Rept. Vogelschutz und Windenergie.P. 2000.A. Report to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. R. Jacobs.P. and P. 2000. and R. 1991. Sacramento. California. Shepherd. Wildlife Society Bulletin 30:879-887. the migrations in eastern North America.. Vauk-Henzelt. Indiana University Press. DiDonato. Report to SeaWest Energy Corp. Report to Wisconsin Public Service Corporation and Madison Gas and Electric Company. Wyoming: November 3. Sarappo. and J. Minnesota. Howell. LLC – draft – 9-04 37 . Shepherd. Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. Johnson. Hunt. M. Howe.D.

University of Chicago Press. Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. Vermont. Pennsylvania . Sherman County. New York. Curry. Washington. American Birding Association. 389. P. Stackpole Books.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment .W. Flight strategies of migrating hawks. S. 1997. CO. US Dept. IL. D. P. A study of bird and bat collision fatalities at the Mountaineer Wind Energy Center. Oregon. Report to FPL Energy and the MWEC Technical Review Committee. P. Garrett. McKinney. DC. Washington. 2004. pp. Chicago. November 18. and R. Presented at the American Bird Conservancy-American Wind Energy Association Meeting. J. Avian mortality study at the Green Mountain Wind Farm. 1995.fws. Kerlinger. Somerset County. Colorado Springs. Avian and bat mortality during the first year of operation at the Klondike Phase I Wind Project. LLC – draft – 9-04 38 .gov/r9mbmo Kerlinger. Avian mortality at communications towers: a review of recent literature. Wind turbines and avian risk: lessons from communication towers. Tucker County. How birds migrate. 1997. Kerlinger. P. An Assessment of the Impacts of Green Mountain Power Corporation’s Wind Power Facility on Breeding and Migrating Birds in Searsburg. and P. P.. Kerlinger. Kerlinger. Draft report to Northwestern Wind Power. May 18-19. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2003.2000-2001. Kerlinger. White. PA. Johnston. Madison. G. 2003. Proceedings of the National Wind/Avian Planning Meeting. www. 2001. and J. Vermont. FAA lighting of wind turbines and bird collisions. P. P. 2000a. A birder’s guide to Virginia. May 1998. CA.Kerlinger Johnson. P. Kearns. J. 2002. 1989. 228. W. Avian fatality study at the Madison Wind Power Project. research. DC.. Kearns. Golden. 2000c. 2004. P. Kerlinger. Report to PG&E Generating. Report to the U. Report to National Renewable Energy Laboratory. San Diego. of Energy. An Assessment of the Impacts of Green Mountain Power Corporation’s Wind Power Facility on Breeding and Migrating Birds in Searsburg. Analysis of Golden Eagle and Red-tailed Hawk fatalities on Altamont Ownership Consortium property within the Altamont Wind Resource Area (AWRA). Kerlinger. and R. and methodology. CO. West Virginia: Annual report for 2003. Mechanicsburg. Kerlinger. P. 2004.. 2003. 2002. Kerlinger. Kerlinger. Proceedings of the National Wind Coordinating Committee Meeting. Erickson. pp.

Naugle. Marti Montes. C. and E. NY. G. A continued examination of avian mortality in the Altamont Pass wind resource area. California Energy Commission... F. Wilson Bull. Fish & Wildlife Service. Preliminary estimates of waterfowl harvest and hunter activity in the United States during the 2001 hunting season.. 1990. McCann.. 2000.J. California Energy Commission. and L. Sacramento. S. Brown. 2001. 58th N. S. The European perspective: some lessons from case studies. Flannery. and A. and J.. S. Kerlinger. May 1998. 2002. National Avian . P. L. LLC – draft – 9-04 39 .M. Lowther. In Current Ornithology. and D. Effects of wind turbines and other physical elements on field utilization by pink-footed geese (Anser brachyrhynchus): A landscape perspective. Atmospheric structure and avian migration. Higgins. S. DC. Preliminary report. F. Knoxville. Wind turbine effects on avian activity.E. Tennessee Valley Authority. Stopover on a Gulf Coast barrier island by spring trans-gulf migrants.I.. and P. 2000. and A. Pedersen. 1989-1991. National Wind Coordinating Committee. Niles. 1989. R. Moore.G. Conf. 1996. 1992. P. Buffalo Mountain Windfarm bird and bat mortality monitoring report: October 2000 – September 2002.B. 6:109-142. Effects of wind turbine power plants on the Avifauna in the Campo de Gibraltar Region. Trans..JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . Impact of a 90 m/2MW wind turbine on birds – avian responses to the implementation of the Tjaereborg wind turbine at the Danish Wadden Sea.. Resour. Simons. Larsen. J. 398-407. United States Fish and Wildlife Service Division of Migratory Bird Management.R.A. 2000. MD. Madsen. 1991. Kerlinger. Wild. 1993. Landscape Ecology 15:755-764.R. M. 1995. Winegrad. Miljoministeriet & Danmarks Miljoundersogelser. Spanish Ornithological Society. and G. P. vol. J.K. and F. San Diego. R.M. K. C. Dansek Vildundersogelser. CA. Poulsen. 2002. Orloff. CA. DC. Haefte 47. 102:487-500. Martin. Flannery. Nicholson. Barrios Jaque. Orloff. Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. E. habitat use. Effects of wind turbines on upland nesting birds in conservation reserve program grasslands. and P. Bartlett. S. Sacramento. Padding.. and mortality in Altamont Pass and Solano County wind resource areas. American Bird Conservancy.. E. Washington. Mabey. and T.. & Natur. 1999.Kerlinger Report from Altamont Avian Plan for the Ownership Consortium and U. Washington. CA. Proc. Shire. Laurel. K. K.Wind Power Planning Meeting III. Moore. Wilson Bulletin 111:100-104. Leddy. TN. Kerlinger. Plenum Press.

Sea West Windpower. CO. Bird kills at towers and other man-made structures: an annotated partial bibliography (1960-1998). 110-119. Zalles.. Young. Sibley. E. Young.fws.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment .P. and Kansas Electric Utilities Research Program. 2000. L. D. Crossley.D. Raptor Watch: A Global Directory of Raptor Migration Sites. D. Wiedner. DLO. Arnhem. and R. 1990. Bildstein. M. Golden. New Jersey. Auk 109:500-510. 1998. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association. J.L. and L. Hough. US DOE. J. Disturbance of birds by the experimental wind park near Oosterbierum (Fr.A. and G. 2000.G. Prepared for Western Resources.A. Institute for Forestry and Nature Research. Erickson. Avian and bat mortality associated with the initial phase of the Foote Creek Rim Windpower Project. Winkelman.. P. October 1998October 1999. July 1994... Report to Pacificorp.E. E. Strickland.. Trapp. D. Pottawatomie County. Visible morning flight of neotropical landbird migrants at Cape May. Avian surveys for the wind turbine site and the Jeffrey Energy Center. J. good. Avian risk behavior and fatalities at the Altamont Wind Resource Area. CO.D. R. Kansas. G. Wyoming. Proceedings of National Avian-Wind Planning Meeting. Inc. Bird/wind turbine investigations in Europe.Kerlinger Thelander. Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. LLC – draft – 9-04 40 . C. Harding. National Renewable Energy Laboratory SR-500-27545. Inc. Winkelman. Western Resources. S. 1995. Fish and Wildlife Service web report: www. Wiens. 2003. Project #KRD-9814. Inc. and Bureau of Land Management. Denver. E. J. Rugge.. W. Kerlinger. P. (see other references and summaries within this Proceedings volume). Pp. J. Carbon County. and K. RINreport 90/ 1992.S. U. 2000. and M.I. Holt.P. Johnson..) during building and partly operative situations (1984-1989).

Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. Map showing location of two potential wind turbine sites at the James Madison University .NASA project site.Kerlinger Figure 1. Virginia. Wallops Island.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . Accomack County. LLC – draft – 9-04 41 .

JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . Virginia (10-11 August. 2004). LLC – draft – 9-04 42 . Photographs showing representative habitat at Site 1 of the James Madison UniversityNASA Wind Power site at Wallops Island. Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger.Kerlinger Figure 2. Accomack County.

Kerlinger Figure 2. LLC – draft – 9-04 43 . Accomack County. Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. 2004).JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . Virginia (10-11 August. Photographs showing representative habitat at Site 2 of the James Madison UniversityNASA Wind Power site at Wallops Island.

the specific project. Overall. rotation speed of blades) Ask the following: a) What is the policy of the agency or organization on wind power . migratory stopover concentrations. e) Their concerns about wind power and risk to birds.county. however. b) Knowledge of bird life of a site/area at or near the project. c) Ask specifics about nesting species. In some cases the order of the questions and information supplied changes as a result of the person being interviewed having questions or taking the lead.if there is one. characteristics of turbines (tubular towers. etc. wintering concentrations. and interviews with experts . migration concentrations. threatened or endangered species. Procedures for interviews of agency staff. height.resulting in a report for developer and others to use to evaluate overall risk at a given site if it is developed as a wind power facility c) Location of the project . LLC – draft – 9-04 44 .megawatts of power. environmental organization staff. phone numbers/organizations/agencies. species of special concern. Inform them that they can call in the future to supply information or ask questions about wind power. township.Kerlinger Appendix I. rare. literature search.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . mountain or other distinguishing feature d) Brief description of project . d) Knowledge of significant habitats on project site or nearby. all of the above questions are asked and information supplied.names. approximate number of turbines. Ask if they wish to know anything about wind power or wind power in relation to birds. and knowledgeable parties/avian experts. • • • Interviews are not always conducted the same way. f) Other experts who should be contacted . or risk to birds. Interviewer states purposes of phone call: a) That they are doing a Phase I Avian Risk Assessment of a wind power project b) What a Phase I Avian Risk Assessment is (site visits. • • Interviewer identifies himself and identifies client. Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger.

LLC – draft – 9-04 45 . Letters from Virginia and the U. and species of special concern and wetlands at or near the JMU – NASA Wind Power sites. Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger.Kerlinger Appendix II.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . threatened. Virginia. S. Fish and Wildlife Service in response to inquiry for information regarding endangered. Accomack County.

and state and federal wildlife agency staffers. Fish & Wildlife Service Other Knowledgeable Birders from the Eastern Shore Area of Virginia Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. Summaries of interviews with avian experts. environmental organization representatives.Kerlinger Appendix III. PENDING Important Bird Areas .S. LLC – draft – 9-04 46 .JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment .National Audubon Society U.

0 fatalities. 2 modern turbines in grassland prairie. 0 fatalities. 1 owl. 53 fatalities found. open grassy fields adjacent to school and ferry terminal on island in Boston Harbor. some night migrants). Kerns and Kerlinger 2004 Tennessee – Buffalo Mountain. 3 turbines on forested/strip mined mountain. informal searches for at least 1 year on dozens of occasions revealed no fatalities – Malcolm Brown. The actual numbers of fatalities. displacement found among grassland nesting songbirds. 33 surveys. The numbers provided below have. 4 fatalities (2 songbird migrants. 44 modern turbines on forested ridge. 8 modern turbines. 7 modern turbines on farmland. Cooper et al. Mary’s. farm fields. 14 songbirds. 2002 Wisconsin – Shirley.Hull. mostly night migrating songbirds. 200+ of modern turbines in farm and grassland.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment .3 fatalities per turbine per year. 2 migration seasons. report to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Integrated Science Services and Richter Museum of Natural History Special Report. 2 modern turbines in farmland. 2 modern turbines in farmland. 69 fatalities found. 1 modern turbine. Howe et al. 4 years (1996-1999). Young 1999 Wisconsin – Kewaunee County Peninsula. in most cases. ~7-9 fatalities per turbine per year (night migrating song and other birds). 1 fatality (night migrating songbird). 1 woodpecker). 11 modern turbines in forested mountain top. 0 fatalities. ~1. 54 surveys. 2 years. 2002 Minnesota – Buffalo Ridge near Lake Benton. Review of avian studies in the United States. Kerlinger 2001 West Virginia – Mountaineer WEC.Tug Hill Plateau.Kerlinger Appendix IV. 12 months. 1 Red-tailed Hawk). Vermont – Searsburg near Green Mountain National Forest. 1 year study (22 searches of all turbines). 0 fatalities. 1 year. 31 modern turbines in farmland. 2 migration seasons. Kerlinger 2002 New York . Howe and Atwater 1999 Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. are greater than the numbers provided. personal communication. LLC – draft – 9-04 47 . are numbers of observed fatalities. Nicholson 2001. 2002 Massachusetts . 2 years (4 migration seasons). 200+ fatalities (4+ fatalities per turbine per year. nesting and migration season. Kerlinger 2002 Pennsylvania – Garrett (Somerset County). (3 waterfowl. 2-4 fatalities per turbine per year (mostly songbirds and 1 hawk). 1995 New York – Madison. 2002 Kansas – St. when observer efficiency and carcass removal by scavengers are included. 25 fatalities. Johnson et al.

prairie and farmland.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . songbirds). 2 years. 2 songbirds. 29 (44 in 2001) modern turbines in rangeland. 1 Short-eared Owl). 0 fatalities. 1. Young et al. 69 modern turbines in rangeland. 106 fatalities including 7 raptors (28+ bird species total) at 124 or 399 modern turbines in farmland. Anderson et al. Orloff and Flannery 1992.6 fatalities per turbine per year. 5. 2003 (15 additional fatalities were at guyed meteorology towers) Oregon – Klondike. 5 years . Johnson et al. 2+ years.5 years. 30 fatalities (9 waterfowl. 1 American Kestrel fatality. 84 fatalities (raptors. 36 bird fatalities found (mostly songbirds. 8 fatalities found (songbirds – ½ night migrants. Howell 1997.). thousands of older turbines. three seasons. 1996.San Gorgonio Pass Wind Resource Area. 1.1991. many years. 1. 16 modern turbines in rangeland and shrub-steppe. 4 songbirds. 2000 Oregon-Washington – Stateline Project. 1 year. 1. Demastes & Trainer 2000 Colorado – Ponnequin. 11 modern turbines in tilled farmland. 100s of mostly older turbines studied. 237 older turbines. 3. 2003 Washington – Nine Canyons – 37 modern turbines. 1 year. 1 kestrel. Thelander and Rugge 2000 California – Montezuma Hills.8 fatalities per turbine per year. 1 duck).3 fatalities per turbine per year.Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA). 1 duck.400 older turbines mostly on lattice towers in grazing and tilled land.and 4 raptors). 75 turbine fatalities (songbirds – 48% night migrants . large numbers of raptor fatalities (>400 reported) and some other birds.Kerlinger Iowa – Algona. Erickson 2003 California . ~ 2 dozen birds per year. 38 modern turbines in farm and rangeland. LLC – draft – 9-04 48 .1999-2003. thousands of turbines. Anderson et al. 2000 Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger.7 fatalities per turbine per year. in Mojave Desert mountains (grazing grassland and scrub). 2000 California . 3 modern turbines in farmland. Kerlinger and Curry 1997. etc.Tehachapi Pass Wind Resource Area. 30+ fatalities found (10 raptors. 2+ years. 1. 11 birds (7 songbirds [~ 4 night migrants]. 2 years. Erickson et al. Orloff 1992.0 fatalities per turbine per year. 1 year. 120 studied in desert. 2 raptors. 2 Canada Geese). Erickson et al. 2003 Oregon – Vansycle. 4 gamebirds. Curry & Kerlinger unpublished data Wyoming – Foote Creek Rim. Howell and DiDonato. Howell 1997 California .

S. comparisons were made and they suggest that risk at JMU – NASA site is greater with respect to a per turbine per year collision rate than at other wind power facilities in the United States. as well as concern regarding other bird species. nor has the Service made changes based on public comment during the past year. as well as others that exceed what is usually requested by the Service. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. because the Wallops Island site is a federal facility. In addition. The JMU . S. The guidelines are interim and that the Federal Register has opened the comment period. None of the other wind power projects in the United States. S. This addendum is written as a response to the recent issuance of the U. The guidelines appeared in the Federal Register in early July 2003. Fish and Wildlife Service 2003). Selecting a worst-case scenario site for comparison with the project site was not possible because choosing such sites would necessitate tenuous assumptions about high risk at wind power projects that have not been demonstrated. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “interim” and “voluntary” guidelines and recommendations for siting and development of wind power projects. and the U. and their habitats. with the possible exception of the APWRA of California have resulted in biologically significant impacts to birds. S. Conformance to Guidelines – Specifics Teaming With Agencies. Fish and Wildlife Service “Interim” and “Voluntary” Guidelines and Recommendations for Wind Power Development Document (U. Fish and Wildlife Service gave a briefing on the new guidelines to the National Wind Coordinating Committee on July 29. which will likely increase the amount of preconstruction study requested by the U. The standard Phase I Avian Risk Assessment process incorporates a large number of the guidelines and recommendations made by the Service. 2003. particularly those that are scientifically valid.Kerlinger Appendix V. This means that compliance with NEPA is likely. Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. In this respect. including many existing wind power projects in the Midwest and east. The risk assessment conducted for the JMU – NASA project relied procedures similar to those presented in the Service’s guidelines. the risk assessment presented above fulfills the Guidelines’ intent to avoid or minimize impacts to wildlife. Conformance with U. Letters were sent to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and the U.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . The guideline document has yet to be reviewed.NASA Wind Power Project site was compared to other wind power facilities in the United States. meetings with those agencies will be requested to discuss potential risk to birds at the site and whether further research is needed. There is likely to be a federal nexus for the JMU – NASA Project. specifically birds. LLC – draft – 9-04 49 . Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) offices requesting information on listed species and species of special concern. Approaching these agencies meets the recommendation by the Service that developers should attempt to team or involve such agencies in the process. Selection of a worst-case scenario site at this time would not be based on biologically documented impacts. S. as well as projects in the western United States and Europe. Therefore. Reference Site. which will last for 2 years.

lighting specifications. the Phase I assessment included detailed descriptions of the habitat and topography of the site and surrounding areas.NASA project site has a greater risk of collisions than is present at most previously constructed wind power facilities in the United States. ecological magnets. Alternate Sites. that could influence avian impacts potentially resulting from the proposed development. comparisons were made with various sites where such disturbance has been determined to occur. It should also be noted that because federal permits (NEPA) are likely to be necessary for this project. despitethe likelihood of those fatalities being greater on a per turbine basis. Instead of using the PII and checklists supplied in the Service’s guidelines. LLC – draft – 9-04 50 .JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . the USFWS’s PII ranking protocol for alternate sites may need to be undertaken. Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. Those comparisons are relevant because they provide actual numbers of takings that the USFWS deems to be biologically not significant. Conformance to Service Recommendations o Site Development – The Phase I Avian Risk Assessment covers the following concerns voiced in the USFWS’s guideline document. An analysis of alternative sites is problematic because site selection started before Service guidelines were released. such impacts are likely to be minimal and not biologically significant. dune. Clearly. With respect to habitat disturbance and displacement of nesting birds. or other attractive habitats are located within or adjacent to the project boundary. For example. coastal forest. Checklists. unguyed). Because the habitats immediately beneath where turbines would be erected. an alternative sites analysis may be requested by U.) and the degree of current disturbance and fragmentation. Also. etc.NASA site) with the numbers of fatalities permitted by the USFWS via depredation and hunting permits does not suggest that impacts of wind turbines are likely to be biologically significant. including towers in the eastern and Midwestern United States. Determination of potential biological significance of documented fatalities at wind power facilities (including the probable number of fatalities at the JMU . This type of comparison is particularly important because there is a large body of research on communication towers. the JMU . The same is true for falconry permits. However. Letters of inquiry were sent to the USFWS and Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Heritage Program soliciting records of listed species. Further comparisons were made to the impacts of communication towers of various sizes. Fish and Wildlife Service. dune forest. habitat was examined to determine whether listed avian species are likely to nest or use the site. and construction types (guyed vs. where birds such as hawks and falcons are removed from the wild. comparisons to the APWRA and sites where risk has been documented to be negligible were made. This included detailed descriptions of the habitats present (salt marsh.S. Therefore. the risk assessment included determination of actual or potential migration pathways. the Service may not interpret turbine fatalities as being comparable to hunting or depredation fatalities or falconry permits.Kerlinger Although it is not possible to directly compare the JMU .NASA project with a site that could be construed as a worst case scenario site.

Raptor use. waterfowl and other migrants. o Wind Turbine Design and Operation – Many of the Service’s recommendations were either made in the risk assessment or are routinely done at modern wind plants. Red strobe-like lights (L-864) are likely to be recommended by FAA. Road areas and habitat restoration are addressed in the risk assessment. This is addressed in this report. Seasonal concentrations of birds are addressed in the risk assessment.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . The Service’s guidelines stipulate that radar or other remote sensing methodologies should be used if large concentrations of migrants are suspected. Tubular (unguyed) towers would be used to prevent perching. such configuring is not necessary. With only 1 turbine at each of the two sites. Configuring turbines in ways that would avoid potential mortality has not been demonstrated empirically to reduce or prevent impact. The need for such monitoring is to be determined during the permitting process and is Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger. LLC – draft – 9-04 51 . shorebirds. Other grassland nesting species that may be disturbed or displaced were addressed in the Phase I assessment. However. Habitat fragmentation issues have been addressed in the risk assessment. The appropriateness of shutting down turbines or other mitigation is dependent on the level of demonstrated impacts. or other tall structures. Adjustment of tower/rotor height is problematic and beyond the scope of this report. most likely in small numbers. There are no prairie grouse or similar species present. There is no evidence that red strobe-like FAA lights attract birds to wind turbines. of the area appears to be high.Kerlinger The JMU – NASA project site is on a known migration pathway and stopover area for hawks. a result of fatality numbers being small. This has been addressed in detail in the text of this risk assessment. towers. especially Peregrine Falcon and Northern Harrier (both Virginia listed species)– and migrants. it should be noted that only 1 or 2 turbines are proposed suggesting that biologically significant impacts on birds are not likely. so raptor fatalities can be expected. This was explained in detail in the report. Underground electric lines and APLIC guidelines have been recommended in the risk assessment. Some Service recommendations are incorrect or not applicable. which cannot be determined preconstruction. Carrion availability is not applicable at the project site. songbirds. Post-construction fatality monitoring would provide a means of determining the impact the project has to birds. Unguyed (permanent) meteorology towers have been recommended in the risk assessment. The Service’s recommendation that “only white strobes should be used at night” to avoid attracting night migrants is incorrect.

Such a study is recommended in this risk assessment. Until such validation of the guidelines has been done. detailed that review in a letter to Interior Secretary Norton.Kerlinger beyond the scope of this report.) Copyright © 2004 Curry & Kerlinger.JMU-NASA Wind Power Avian Risk Assessment . it is difficult to determine how valuable the guidelines and recommendations are. there is need for validation of the recommendations and the protocols for ranking a site as to potential risk. although some have not been substantiated. (The American Wind Energy Association [AWEA] has reviewed the USFWS’ guidelines and recommendations and in December 2003. Some of the guidelines and recommendations are integral to adequately assessing risk. and environmental organizations prior to them being required for wind power projects. industry. The USFWS has stated they will not address comments or revise their guidelines and recommendations until mid-2005. Most importantly. Overall. LLC – draft – 9-04 52 . the USFWS’s interim and voluntary guidelines promise to provide a means of evaluating wind power sites for wildlife impacts. The guidelines and recommendations are in need of a thorough review from the scientific community.

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