Date of this Version
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NORTH AMERICAN CRANE WORKSHOP 14:26-34
Biologists have expressed concern that individuals of the Aransas-Wood Buffalo Population of the federally endangered whooping crane (Grus americana), numbering about 300, may be injured or killed by wind turbines during migration. To help address this concern and curtail (stop) turbine operations when whooping cranes approached turbines, we monitored the area around 5 wind energy facilities in North and South Dakota during spring and fall migration for whooping cranes and sandhill cranes (G. canadensis). Observers monitored cranes for 3 years at each facility from 2009 to 2013 (1,305 total days of monitoring), recording 14 unique observations for a total of 45 whooping cranes for which curtailment occurred during portions of 9 days. Observers also searched for dead cranes at the base of every turbine each day of monitoring. This resulted in approximately 92,022 cumulative individual inspections, during which no dead or injured cranes were detected. Based on our results and monitoring efforts at other wind energy facilities in the migration corridor, no whooping crane fatalities have been documented. Although migrating cranes use areas near turbines, they do not appear to be overly susceptible to collisions with wind turbines.