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Weather radar is key to bird-friendly wind energy


birds and weather radar The granularity and broad extent of weather surveillance radar allow managers to minimize conflicts between wind energy and migrating birds

Wind turbines should be built at least 12 miles away from Great Lakes shorelines in order to protect the stopover habitats of migrating birds, according to a new analysis of flocks picked up on weather radar systems.

“This is much farther than has been considered before when making recommendations about siting wind turbines to avoid such bird concentrations,” says study team member Jeff Buler , a wildlife ecologist at the University of Delaware in Newark. Currently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service suggests an exclusion zone of 3 miles, while the Nature Conservancy recommends 5 miles.

“The fine granularity and broad extent of weather surveillance radar observations made this discovery possible,” Buler says.

Buler and his collaborators analyzed data from seven weather radar stations collected over four years during the spring (early April through mid-June) and autumn (mid-August through end of October) migration seasons – 4,256 nights’ worth of radar data overall.

The Great Lakes region of the United States is “is a globally important bird area with significant current wind development that is projected to continue,” says study team […]

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