How far are birds, bats, and terrestrial mammals displaced from onshore wind power development? – A systematic review

Science Direct|Anne Tolvanen, Henri Routavaara, Mika Jokikokko, and Parvez Rana|December 2, 2023
USAFinlandNorwaySpainUnited Kingdom (UK)Impact on WildlifeImpact on BirdsImpact on Bats

This important paper examines the distances at which wildlife life is displaced by operating wind energy facilities. The investigation involved review of post-construction data at projects located in the US, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Norway. The highlights of the report and abstract oft he study are provided below. The full report can be downloaded from the document links on this page.


  • 63 %, 72 %, and 67 % of bird, bat, and mammal cases respectively reported displacement.
  • Cranes, owls and semi-domestic reindeer were displaced on average up to 5 km.
  • Bats were displaced on average up to 1 km in 21 out of 29 cases.
  • Findings of no displacement resulted from methodology, species, and environment.
  • Information on displacement helps to mitigate the effects of wind power on wildlife.


Wind power is a rapidly growing source of energy worldwide. It is crucial for climate change mitigation, but it also accelerates the degradation of biodiversity through habitat loss and the displacement of wildlife. To understand the extent of displacement and reasons for observations where no displacement is reported, we conducted a systematic review of birds, bats, and terrestrial mammals. Eighty-four peer-reviewed studies of onshore wind power yielded 160 distinct displacement distances, termed cases. For birds, bats, and mammals, 63 %, 72 %, and 67 % of cases respectively reported displacement. Cranes (3/3 cases), owls (2/2), and semi-domestic reindeer (6/6) showed consistent displacement on average up to 5 km. Gallinaceus birds showed displacement on average up to 5 km, but in 7/18 cases reported to show “no displacement”. Bats were displaced on average up to 1 km in 21/29 cases. Waterfowl (6/7 cases), raptors (24/30), passerines (16/32) and waders (8/19) were displaced on average up to 500 m. Observations of no displacement were suggested to result from methodological deficiencies, species-specific characteristics, and habitat conditions favorable for certain species after wind power development. Displacement-induced population decline could be mitigated by situating wind power in low-quality habitats, minimizing the small-scale habitat loss and collisions, and creating high-quality habitats to compensate for habitat loss. This review provides information on distance thresholds that can be employed in the design of future wind energy projects. However, most studies assessed the effects of turbine towers of <100 m high, while considerably larger turbines are being built today.


1 S2.0 S0006320723004834 Main

January 16, 2024


Share this post
Follow Us
Stay Updated

We respect your privacy and never share your contact information. | LEGAL NOTICES

Contact Us

Lisa Linowes, Executive Director
phone: 603.838.6588

Email contact

General Copyright Statement: Most of the sourced material posted to WindAction.org is posted according to the Fair Use doctrine of copyright law for non-commercial news reporting, education and discussion purposes. Some articles we only show excerpts, and provide links to the original published material. Any article will be removed by request from copyright owner, please send takedown requests to: info@windaction.org