Potential impacts of wind farm energy development on upland game birds: questions and concerns

This paper was presented at the Fourth International Partners in Flight Conference: Tundra to Tropics held February 13-16, 2008 in Texas.

Ecologists and wildlife managers have been concerned about the negative impacts of wind energy developments or wind farms on migratory birds such as passerines and raptors, as well as bats. However, we present a series of arguments that culminate in a plea to also consider the potential direct and indirect impacts of wind farms on resident and migratory upland game birds. We pose these arguments from both ecological and economic perspectives because economic impacts derived from hunters are a major driver that provides incentives for landowners to sustain habitats, not only for upland game birds, but also for scores of other terrestrial wildlife species as well.

The primary concern regarding the impacts of wind farms on upland game birds seems to revolve around the widespread fragmentation that results, not only from placement of the wind turbine towers, but also from the infrastructure of roads needed to construct and service them and the transmission lines required to access the continental electrical power grid. We consider these issues from the standpoint of habitat resources needed to sustain both resident (Northern Bobwhite, Colinus virginianus; Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo; prairie-chickens, Tympanuchus spp.; and migratory Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura; and White-winged Dove, Z. asiatica) game birds. Implementation of policies and procedures, such as the 12-point position statement on wind energy development and wildlife as proposed by The Wildlife Society, is critically needed to conserve upland game birds and all wildlife populations during the course of planning and locating wind farms.

Brennan 1 Pif09

Download file (76.1 KB) pdf

FEB 13 2008
back to top