Date of this Version
Proceedings of the North American Crane Workshop 13: 67
The High Plains of the United States have been experiencing a large increase in wind energy generation sites with the American Wind Energy Association reporting an increase across America from 10 total installed gigawatts in 2006 to 60 total installed gigawatts in 2012. (American Wind Energy Association 2012). The High Plains also coincides with the Central Flyway in North America which is used by numerous bird species during migration, some with large bodies and high wing loading including the sandhill cranes (Grus canandensis), whooping cranes (G. americana), and waterfowl. Species such as these tend to be more vulnerable to mortality from strikes with structures due to reduced maneuverability (Bevenger 1998). Texas is currently 1 of the top 5 producers of wind power generation, and installation of wind power is expected to increase due to its high wind capabilities (American Wind Energy Association 2012).
Eighty percent of the midcontinent sandhill crane population migrates to northwestern Texas every winter (Iverson et al. 1985), and the entire wild North American whooping crane population migrates through northern Texas to winter along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico (Stehn 2010). More wind turbines on the landscape may put these populations of cranes at risk for increased turbine collisions.