TWS 2015 student poster winner: Windfarms and wildlife

By Joshua Rapp Learn

Lauren Naylor shows a draft of her student poster. Image courtesy of Lauren Naylor.

Rehabilitation may be a potential form of mitigation for the threats wind farms pose to migratory birds, according to research presented at The Wildlife Society’s 22nd Annual Conference in Winnipeg.

“Wind farms are popping up nationwide,” said Lauren Naylor, an undergraduate student at Texas A&M University and a student TWS member. “They pose a threat on birds of prey because they have shorter reproductive cycles and longer lives.”

Naylor won the second place in the undergraduate category of the student poster competition at the conference. She is currently looking at some of the ways in which wind farms may be affecting birds’ migration routes by counting how many die on impact, how many birds are injured, and whether the injured birds can be rehabilitated and released back into the wild.

“If there are a decent amount of birds that can be rehabilitated, maybe we can use rehabilitation as a mitigation,” Naylor said.

To conduct the study, she’s sending out surveys to six rehabilitation centers in the six states which produce the most wind energy: Iowa, Texas, California, Washington Oregon and Minnesota.

Naylor said that the research and survey work should be finished by January or February of this year.

Joshua LearnJoshua Rapp Learn is a science writer at The Wildlife Society.

Read more of Joshua's articles.